The Lord of the Rings
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel written by the English academic and philologist J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as merely a sequel to Tolkien's earlier work, The Hobbit, but eventually developed into a much larger story. It was written in stages between 1937 and 1949, much of it during World War II.
Since meaningful stories are nearly always applicable to larger issues, allegories may be read into many stories, sometimes distorting their author's overt meaning. For instance, many people have suggested that The Lord of the Rings was an allegory for the World Wars, while in fact it was well under way before the outbreak of World War II and J.R.R. Tolkien's emphatic statement in the introduction to the American edition "It is neither allegorical nor topical....I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence."