One of my favorite contemporary writers on one of my favorite all-time writers:
Instead of doing what most writers (trust me) settle for, the minimum needed to move the story forward, Tolkien showed all the Liberality of those medieval craftsmen who would carve even the backs of pillars that no man would ever see -- since they worked for the glory of God, Who would. Tolkien crafted for his creatu...res' use entire languages with alphabets and whole continents with maps. He limned out their history for thousands of years, from the mists of our own faded legends (such as Beowulf and the Brothers Grimm) all the way back to Creation.
It's also interesting to find out that a good deal of Tolkien's faith formation came under a priest who, Zmirak notes, was "one of John Henry Cardinal Newman's protégés at the Birmingham Oratory."