The Lost Road and Other Writings

From Tolkien Gateway
The Lost Road and Other Writings
AuthorJ.R.R. Tolkien
EditorChristopher Tolkien
PublisherUnwin Hyman (UK)
Houghton Mifflin (US)
Released27 August 1987 (UK)
30 November 1987 (US)
FormatHardcover; paperback
Pages448
ISBN0048233498
Preceded byThe Shaping of Middle-earth (1986)
Followed byThe Return of the Shadow (1988)

The Lost Road and Other Writings, published in 1987, is the fifth volume of Christopher Tolkien's 12-volume book series, The History of Middle-earth, in which he analyzes the unpublished manuscripts of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Background

The Lost Road itself was the result of a joint decision by Tolkien and C.S. Lewis to make attempts at writing science fiction. Lewis ended up writing a story about space travel, which eventually became The Space Trilogy, and Tolkien tried to write something about time travel, but never completed it.

The Lost Road is a fragmentary beginning of that "time travel" tale, with a rough outline and several pieces of narrative, including four chapters dealing with modern England and Númenor, from which the entire story may be glimpsed. The scheme was for time travel by means of "vision", or being mentally inserted into what had been so as to experience that which had happened. In this way the tale links the 20th century to many legends of older times, going further and further back, until to the Third Age of Middle-earth, and finally to the Fall of Gil-galad, before recounting the prime legend of the Downfall of Númenor and the Bending of the World.

The novel explores the theme of the "Straight Road" into the West, now open only in memory because the world has become round. Tolkien reworked and expanded some of the ideas in The Lost Road in The Notion Club Papers, which was also left unfinished.[1]

Contents

  • Preface
  • Index

Inscriptions

There is an inscription in the Tengwar characters in the first pages of every History of Middle-earth volume, written by Christopher Tolkien and describing the contents of the book. The inscription in Book V reads:

"Herein are collected the oldest Tale of the Downfall of Númenor, the story of the Lost Road into the West, the Annals of Valinor and the Annals of Beleriand in a later form, the Ainulindalë, or Music of the Ainur, the Lhammas, or Account of Tongues, the Quenta Silmarillion or History of the Silmarils, and the history of many words and names."

From the publisher

The fifth volume of the History of Middle-earth, containing the early myths and legends which led to the writing of Tolkien’s epic tale of war, The Silmarillion.
At the end of 1937, J.R.R. Tolkien reluctantly set aside his work on the myths and heroic legends of Valinor and Middle-earth and began The Lord of the Rings.
This fifth volume of The History of Middle-earth completes the examination of his writing up to that time. Later forms of the Annals of Valinor and the Annals of Beleriand had been composed, the Silmarillion was nearing completion in a greatly amplified form, and a new Map had been made. The legend of the Downfall of Númenor had entered the work, including those central ideas: the World Made Round and the Straight Path into the vanished West. Closely associated with this was the abandoned ‘time-travel’ story The Lost Road, linking the world of Númenor and Middle-earth with the legends of many other times and peoples.
Also included in this volume is the The Lhammas, as essay on the complex languages and dialects of Middle-earth, and an ‘etymological dictionary’ containing an extensive account of Elvish vocabularies.

Publication history and gallery

UK editions
1987 hardcover
1987 hardcover  
1989 paperback
1989 paperback  
1991 hardcover
1991 hardcover  
1993 paperback
1993 paperback  
2002 & 2015 paperback
2002 & 2015 paperback  
2010 hardcover
2010 hardcover  
2024 paperback
2024 paperback  

See also

External links

A content guide for this volume at Tolkienbooks.net

References

  1. Verlyn Flieger, A Question of Time: J.R.R. Tolkien's Road to Faërie
The History of Middle-earth series
i.The Book of Lost Tales: Part One · ii.The Book of Lost Tales: Part Two · iii.The Lays of Beleriand ·
iv.The Shaping of Middle-earth · v.The Lost Road and Other Writings · vi.The Return of the Shadow ·
vii.The Treason of Isengard · viii.The War of the Ring · ix.Sauron Defeated ·
x.Morgoth's Ring · xi.The War of the Jewels · xii.The Peoples of Middle-earth · (Index)
A J.R.R. Tolkien book guide
Books by or mainly by Tolkien
On Arda Authored by
J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit · The Lord of the Rings
(i.The Fellowship of the Ring · ii.The Two Towers · iii.The Return of the King) ·
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil · The Road Goes Ever On · Bilbo's Last Song
Edited by Christopher Tolkien The Silmarillion · Unfinished Tales · The History of Middle-earth series
(i.The Book of Lost Tales: Part One · ii.The Book of Lost Tales: Part Two · iii.The Lays of Beleriand · iv.The Shaping of Middle-earth · v.The Lost Road and Other Writings · vi.The Return of the Shadow · vii.The Treason of Isengard · viii.The War of the Ring · ix.Sauron Defeated · x.Morgoth's Ring · xi.The War of the Jewels · xii.The Peoples of Middle-earth · Index) ·
The Children of Húrin · Beren and Lúthien · The Fall of Gondolin
Edited by others The Annotated Hobbit · The History of The Hobbit · The Nature of Middle-earth · The Fall of Númenor
Not on Arda Short stories
and others
Leaf by Niggle · Farmer Giles of Ham · Smith of Wootton Major · Letters from Father Christmas ·
Mr. Bliss · Roverandom · Tree and Leaf (compilation) · Tales from the Perilous Realm (compilation)
Fictional works The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún · The Fall of Arthur · The Story of Kullervo · The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
Translations and academic works Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo · The Old English Exodus · Finn and Hengest ·
The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays · Beowulf and the Critics · Tolkien On Fairy-stories ·
Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary · A Secret Vice · The Battle of Maldon
Letters & poems The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien · The Collected Poems of J.R.R. Tolkien
Other
academic works
A Middle English Vocabulary · Sir Gawain and the Green Knight · Ancrene Wisse
Books by other authors
Books on Arda The Complete Guide to Middle-earth · The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion ·
The Maps of Middle-earth
Tolkien biographies J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography · The Inklings · Tolkien and the Great War
Scholarly books The Road to Middle-earth · The Keys of Middle-earth · The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide ·
The Ring of Words · A Companion to J.R.R. Tolkien · Tolkien's Lost Chaucer · Tolkien's Library · Tolkien on Chaucer, 1913-1959
Scholarly journals Tolkien Studies · (The Chronology)
Other works by Tolkien
Linguistic journals Vinyar Tengwar various issues · Parma Eldalamberon issue 11-22
Collections of artwork
and manuscripts
Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien · J.R.R. Tolkien: Life and Legend · J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator ·
The Art of The Hobbit · The Art of The Lord of the Rings · Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth ·
Tolkien: Treasures · J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript
This list is only a selection, for a fuller bibliography of Tolkien see here or here. See also a timeline and an index.