The Lost Road and Other Writings
|The Lost Road and Other Writings|
|Publisher||Unwin Hyman (UK)|
Houghton Mifflin (US)
|Released||27 August 1987 (UK)|
30 November 1987 (US)
|Preceded by||The Shaping of Middle-earth (1986)|
|Followed by||The 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the fifth volume of Christopher Tolkien's 12-volume book series, The History of Middle-earth, in which he analyzes the unpublished manuscripts of J.R.R. Tolkien.
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.
- Part One: The Fall of Númenor and the Lost Road
- Part Two: Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings
- I. "The Texts and Their Relations"
- II. "The Later Annals of Valinor"
- III. "The Later Annals of Beleriand"
- IV. "Ainulindalë"
- V. "The Lhammas"
- VI. "Quenta Silmarillion"
- Part Three: "The Etymologies"
- Appendix I: The Genealogies
- Appendix II: The List of Names
- Appendix III: The Second 'Silmarillion' Map
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
- Unwin Hyman hardcover (1987), pp. 448. ISBN 0048233498
- Unwin Paperbacks paperback (1989), ISBN 0044403984 (cover art by Roger Garland)
- HarperCollins paperback (1993), ISBN 0261102257 (cover art by John Howe)
- HarperCollins paperback (2002), ISBN 0261102257
- HarperCollins hardcover (2010), ISBN 0007365292
A detailed list of unique writings and works by Tolkien in this volume, at Tolkienbooks.net
- Verlyn Flieger, A Question of Time: J.R.R. Tolkien's Road to Faërie