NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)
3rd September, 1973 : J R R Tolkien, a quiet British scholar, suddenly became a best seller in his seventies. When he died yesterday aged 81 he was rich. Not that he cared. After writing a story about a Hobbit for his children, he began to construct an imaginary world called Middle Earth. After 12 years it had grown to 500,000 words. Published as The Lord of the Rings, it sold a million copies a year after it appeared as a paperback in the 60s.