Who was Edith Bratt? Millions saw Hollywood's fantasy version of J.R.R. Tolkien's one and only love, Edith Bratt, in the 2019 movie, Tolkien. Fact, though, is stranger than fiction, and more interesting. Edith's story reveals a gallant heroine suffering under “The Shadow of the Past.” Edith was Ronald’s “lover,” and much like her mother, Edith risked all for the man she loved. New research finds a financially independent and strong woman who was not only John Ronald's equal, but his muse, his anchor of stability in the present, and his hope for the future.
This presentation of Edith's life presents a new look at the previously censored depth of her passion with Ronald Tolkien that was ignited in 1909 at the Faulkner boarding house in Birmingham. The blow of their separation from 1910 to 1913 is seen as the likely impetus to Ronald Tolkien's escape into Fantasy with his invented languages, mythology, and art. Their reunion and commitment to a life together was the incentive that saved Ronald Tolkien from his years of partying and pranks in Oxford. Tolkien then imagined a new life in enchanted Kortirion/Warwick with Edith, lauded in poetry and blessed by the Elves. When World War I threatened to void all they had waited for, they became for each other the promise of a seemingly impossible future.
Admirers, enthusiasts, and students of Tolkien will find much new material to enrich their understanding and appreciation of Tolkien. Placing the development of John Ronald Tolkien's Elvish languages, mythology, and art during the crucial years of 1916-18 in a new biographical context that includes the importance and significance of Edith Bratt culminates in the pivotal story of Lúthien and Beren with new unsuspected sources and the complementary artwork of The Fair Towns of Holy Tol Eressëa. A fresh awareness of the compelling and pervasive influence and effect of Tolkien’s biography on his oeuvre suggests new views and possibilities for further investigations.