JRRT - the Author
Tolkien was an Oxford University scholar, and much of the backdrop of Hobbiton is believed to have been his recreation of the Oxfordshire countryside.
British adventure stories
One of the greatest influences on Tolkien was the Arts and Crafts polymath William Morris. Tolkien wished to imitate Morris's prose and poetry romances, from which he took hints for the names of features such as the Dead Marshes in The Lord of the Rings and Mirkwood, along with some general aspects of approach.
Edward Wyke-Smith's The Marvellous Land of Snergs, with its "table-high" title characters, strongly influenced the incidents, themes, and depiction of Bilbo's race in The Hobbit.
Tolkien also cited H. Rider Haggard's novel She in a telephone interview: "I suppose as a boy She interested me as much as anything—like the Greek shard of Amyntas, which was the kind of machine by which everything got moving."
A supposed facsimile of this potsherd appeared in Haggard's first edition, and the ancient inscription it bore, once translated, led the English characters to She's ancient kingdom. Critics have compared this device to the Testament of Isildur in The Lord of the Rings and to Tolkien's efforts to produce as an illustration a realistic page from the Book of Mazarbul.
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Critics starting with Edwin Muir have found resemblances between Haggard's romances and Tolkien's.
Tolkien wrote of being impressed as a boy by S. R. Crockett's historical novel The Black Douglas and of basing the Necromancer (Sauron) on its villain, Gilles de Retz. Incidents in both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are similar in narrative and style to the novel, and its overall style and imagery have been suggested as an influence on Tolkien.