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The Lost Road and Other Writings

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Once again, editor Christopher Tolkien satisfies the hunger of his father's fans for more of the magical storytelling that has made The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy the most successful fantasy novels of all time.


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Once again, editor Christopher Tolkien satisfies the hunger of his father's fans for more of the magical storytelling that has made The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy the most successful fantasy novels of all time.

30 review for The Lost Road and Other Writings

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Lost Road and Other Writings (The History of Middle-Earth #5), J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (Editor) The Lost Road itself was the result of a deal between Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, where they agreed to an attempt at writing science fiction. Lewis ended up with writing a story about space travel, which would become The Space Trilogy, and Tolkien would try to write something about time travel, but he never completed it. It is just a fragmentary beginning of a tale, including a rough struc The Lost Road and Other Writings (The History of Middle-Earth #5), J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (Editor) The Lost Road itself was the result of a deal between Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, where they agreed to an attempt at writing science fiction. Lewis ended up with writing a story about space travel, which would become The Space Trilogy, and Tolkien would try to write something about time travel, but he never completed it. It is just a fragmentary beginning of a tale, including a rough structure and several chunks of narrative, including four entire chapters dealing with modern England and Numenor, from which the entire story as it should have been can be glimpsed. Once again, editor Christopher Tolkien satisfies the hunger of his father's fans for more of the magical storytelling that has made The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy the most successful fantasy novels of all time. ‎The lost road and other writings: language and legend before "The lord of the rings", ‎J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien‬. ‎Boston‬: ‎Houghton Mifflin‬, ‎1987 = 1366‬. Pages: ‎viii‬، 455ص ISBN 0395455197‬ تاریخ خوانش روز هفتم ماه آوریل سال 2016 میلادی ا. شربیانی

  2. 4 out of 5

    Terry

    All of the History of Middle-earth volumes that I have read thus far have been chock full of stories, details, notes, and essays that go a long way to showing the sheer scope of what Tolkien was attempting to create from his formative years up to and beyond the creation of his most famous works (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings), but in many ways this latest volume seemed to be nearly bursting at the seams. This foray through the HoME volumes has been an intriguing journey for me (and one th All of the History of Middle-earth volumes that I have read thus far have been chock full of stories, details, notes, and essays that go a long way to showing the sheer scope of what Tolkien was attempting to create from his formative years up to and beyond the creation of his most famous works (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings), but in many ways this latest volume seemed to be nearly bursting at the seams. This foray through the HoME volumes has been an intriguing journey for me (and one that I’ve enjoyed far more than I would have thought) and now it would appear that the first phase of it has come to a close, for it is in _The Lost Road_ that we reach the point Tolkien had come to in the creation of his original mythology before embarking on what would be perhaps the most important, and undeniably the most famous, (though also arguably the most disruptive) stage in his career: the composition of The Lord of the Rings. Many nerds such as myself who are intimately familiar with the legends surrounding the lives of the Inklings, that group of Oxford writers that centred around Tolkien and his friend C. S. Lewis, know the story of a discussion the two men had when they decided that there was a dearth of the kinds of mythological and heroic tales that so fueled their own imaginations and thus as Tolkien recalled Lewis saying: “if they won’t write the kind of books we want to read, we shall have to write them ourselves.” Lewis decided to write a story that centred on the intrusion of myth into the world via the vehicle of space travel, while Tolkien was to write a story in which this happened through time travel. Lewis ended up creating the ‘Space Trilogy’ (in my mind his best works of fiction), in which his philologist hero (a probable partial nod to Tolkien himself) is thrust into a wider cosmos in which the beings and wars of the mythical world are seen to be all too real. Tolkien, as was alas often the case, never ended up finishing his story, though the fragments that exist are presented in this volume and make up the first section in which we see the birth of what was to become an important element of his ever-growing and evolving history of Middle-earth: the rise (and ultimate fall) of the fabled isle of Númenor. Like so many of the elements of Tolkien’s mythology the importance of Númenor seems to be contradicted by the relative scarcity of actual material relating to it. In his published works it is little more than a myth and legend from the distant past whose importance looms large in implication, though less so in apparent fact. Even the posthumously published The Silmarillion has relatively little to contribute on the subject. This was one reason, I think, that the stories which presented an inside look into Tolkien’s conceptions of Númenor (both in this volume and in the book Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth) are especially tantalizing to me. Amongst all of the many writings and ideas left ‘unfinished’ by Tolkien I would probably pair the isle of Númenor with his sparse tales of Tuor, Earendil and the fall of Gondolin as the ‘missed opportunities’ that most torment me. I wish he had written more, and more fully, on these topics and so what I can find on them I treasure. _The Lost Road_ gives us some early outlines on Númenor as a concept and its eventual fall within the context of his still developing Middle-earth mythology, along with the few chapters that Tolkien actually wrote of “The Lost Road” (his proposed companion book to Lewis’) in which a father and son were to travel back in time and discover their connection not only to this mythical isle, but also to many other significant moments in history which they would vicariously experience through their previous lives. It is in these texts that ‘Sauron’ was first used as the name for the lieutenant of Morgoth and it was perhaps his important role as the key behind Númenor’s fall (along with his off-stage appearance as ‘the Necromancer’ in _The Hobbit_) that may have contributed to his pivotal role in the work which Tolkien was to begin writing soon after and which would become his magnum opus: _The Lord of the Rings_. The second part of the text returns us to more familiar ground as we see the further evolution of Tolkien’s composition of the Silmarillion proper in the form of an updated series of annals (for both Beleriand and Valinor), a reworking of his ‘cosmogonical myth’ the Ainulindalë in which the angelic beings called the Ainur sing worldly creation into being, and ‘the Lhammas’, a text devoted to detailing the development of the languages of the elves within the fictional framework of Middle-earth (and which I found much more compelling than that description is likely to imply). Finally section two closes with a version of the ‘Quenta Silmarillion’ in which Tolkien again rewrites the entire history of the first age of Middle-earth in a somewhat compressed form…though much of the wording will be familiar to those who have read the published Silmarillion. In contrast to the first two volumes of the HoME series where even many of the familiar stories and characters were sometimes only vaguely recognizable, we now see much that is not only familiar, but often exactly corresponds to what we will see in the published Silmarillion. There seem to be relatively few elements that are yet to change and thus it is much easier to look back across the various volumes and gain a glimpse of how it was that Christopher Tolkien came up with the final text of the published Silmarillion. The final sections of the book (part 3 and the appendices) will be of primary interest to linguists and others who want to get to the root of the work that, by his own admission, lay behind the creation of all of Tolkien’s writings and were their ultimate key: the invented elvish languages. Along with a detailed set of etymologies, there are lists of names and some details on Tolkien’s second (and final) map of the Silmarillion. There is definitely a lot to be gleaned from these pages, but I have to admit that I skimmed over most of them. Perhaps on a subsequent read I will be more attentive, but at this time it really was the story elements of the earlier portions of the book that held my interest. Again: if you are a hard-core fan then this is definitely for you, if not then why are you reading this review?

  3. 4 out of 5

    X

    More unfinished writing of Middle-Earth. Very little of it is entirely new material, but instead is revisions of earlier writings. This needs to be read after the previous volumes of the HoME as very few of the stories are complete enough to give a full or even followable idea of the history. If not for the fact that it was written by Tolkien, I might give this four stars as it was very slow at times, but there are some parts that are real gems so I will leave it at five stars. Not for the casu More unfinished writing of Middle-Earth. Very little of it is entirely new material, but instead is revisions of earlier writings. This needs to be read after the previous volumes of the HoME as very few of the stories are complete enough to give a full or even followable idea of the history. If not for the fact that it was written by Tolkien, I might give this four stars as it was very slow at times, but there are some parts that are real gems so I will leave it at five stars. Not for the casual reader!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Justin Vestil

    This book is about the history of Middle Earth, from the Akallabeth(The Drowning of Numenor) towards the First Age(which ended with the defeat of Morgoth, and destruction of Beleriand). To simplify, its the history of Middle-Earth before the time of Lord of the Rings. It is about how the Dark Lord Sauron came to be, and how Men and Elves came to Middle-Earth. For history and LOTR buffs, it's a good read. It answers questions that LOTR left hanging.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Whyte

    https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1785921.html Getting to the end of the books about how the Silmarillion was (and wasn't) written now, this volume includes several interesting insights into how Tolkien's works reached us. At the core is the rather slim pickings of The Lost Road, the time travel novel which Tolkien began at around the same time C.S. Lewis began his Ransome trilogy. Tolkien abandoned it, and it wasn't really going in the right direction; what we have here is too episodic to be cohere https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1785921.html Getting to the end of the books about how the Silmarillion was (and wasn't) written now, this volume includes several interesting insights into how Tolkien's works reached us. At the core is the rather slim pickings of The Lost Road, the time travel novel which Tolkien began at around the same time C.S. Lewis began his Ransome trilogy. Tolkien abandoned it, and it wasn't really going in the right direction; what we have here is too episodic to be coherent, and in particular, the framing narrative has a set of slightly odd father-son dynamics going on - Tolkien's own parents were absent, largely through being dead, and the same is true of most of his more successful characters (Bilbo's parents are never heard of, he in turn abandons Frodo in the first chapter of LotR, Húrin is a distant captive while his son and daughter fall in love with each other) though there are exceptions (mostly father-figures who are over-controlling - Théoden, Denethor, Thingol). The importance of father-son dynamics extends also to the making of this book, and I was particularly interested in a passage on page 302 where Christopher Tolkien expresses his regrets that the Silmarillion as originally published was not better; he reflects on the role played by Guy Gavriel Kay in assembling the texts but in the end takes full responsibility for it himself. I was not surprised to read that the story he feels was worst served is the tale of Beren and Lúthien. There's also a lot of meaty material on the languages - an essay called the Lhammas and a set of Elvish etymologies, which brought home to me that for Tolkien his invented structure was much more than just Quenya and Sindarin, it also included half a dozen other languages spoken by different branches of the Elves, barely mentioned in the stories. I have dabbled enough in philology to sense the uniqueness of this achievement - very few sf or fantasy writers come anywhere near Tolkien's level of detail in his invented names and words, and some (eg Robert Jordan) are so bad at it that it's painful. Apart from that, we have the Fall of Númenor, and yet another rehash of the main text of the Silmarillion. I am looking forward to the next volume which is about the early versions of LotR.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Artnoose McMoose

    I am slowly plugging my way through the History of Middle Earth series. I liked reading this volume more than some of the other ones. It contains a story called "The Lost Road" that is about a contemporary father and son who are transported back to Númenor because they are descendants who start "remembering" the ancient language. Tolkien never finished it, but it's a neat oblique story. It also contains another draft of the Quenta Silmarillion, and now that I know more about the history of Tolkie I am slowly plugging my way through the History of Middle Earth series. I liked reading this volume more than some of the other ones. It contains a story called "The Lost Road" that is about a contemporary father and son who are transported back to Númenor because they are descendants who start "remembering" the ancient language. Tolkien never finished it, but it's a neat oblique story. It also contains another draft of the Quenta Silmarillion, and now that I know more about the history of Tolkien's cosmology, a lot of this stuff made more sense than when I read the earlier volumes. In addition there are writings about the languages and some maps. Admittedly I skimmed through the etymology section. Well, five down, seven to go!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michael Davis

    A little less engaging that the other Histories I've read thus far. Looking forward to the 5th in the series, followed quickly (I hope) by the 6th, which takes up the behind the scenes tale at the point in Tolkien's life when he begins the Lord of the Rings. Recommend this one only for the die hard or the scholar. I wrote about the experience of reading all 12 of these volumes here: http://soundscryer.com/2011/06/13/chr... (part 1) and here: http://soundscryer.com/2011/12/02/chr... (part 2). Much A little less engaging that the other Histories I've read thus far. Looking forward to the 5th in the series, followed quickly (I hope) by the 6th, which takes up the behind the scenes tale at the point in Tolkien's life when he begins the Lord of the Rings. Recommend this one only for the die hard or the scholar. I wrote about the experience of reading all 12 of these volumes here: http://soundscryer.com/2011/06/13/chr... (part 1) and here: http://soundscryer.com/2011/12/02/chr... (part 2). Much more detail about the series in those two pieces.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Again I am reminded, how lucky his son is and in fact we are, that Tolkien lived and worked in the time he did, no computers and often when paper was scarce. Without those two facts there would be very little creative process to unearth. As it was, much of it survived, written on the backs of other dates letters and material, and thanks to the time and dedication of his son, made available to us. It truly is an amazing snapshot of an author creating a complex world.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Linda Hoover

    For an in-depth look at the history of Middle Earth from start to finish, this is the fifth one to read in "The History of Middle Earth" series of books, edited by Christopher Tolkien. An interesting look into Tolkien's creative genius at work! :-)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    Only mildly interesting from a literary history virepoint. Hardly the "last chapter" of anything, except maybe Christopher's efforts to peddle on his father's name.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Marko Vasić

    Precisely - 4.5 stars, for great deal of this 455 pages long manuscript is about creation and derivation of Elvish languages (Lhammas), their etymologies and genealogies, that I do not fancy much. But, the early version of the Númenorian annals where Valar were much involved in the plot (contrariwise to both official version of "The Silmarillion" and "Unfinished Tales"), along with Sauron's impact on story-line as well as Aelfwinas's song written in the old English poem "Pearl" fashion I fancied Precisely - 4.5 stars, for great deal of this 455 pages long manuscript is about creation and derivation of Elvish languages (Lhammas), their etymologies and genealogies, that I do not fancy much. But, the early version of the Númenorian annals where Valar were much involved in the plot (contrariwise to both official version of "The Silmarillion" and "Unfinished Tales"), along with Sauron's impact on story-line as well as Aelfwinas's song written in the old English poem "Pearl" fashion I fancied much. The second part is dedicated to later annals of Valinor and Beleriand, and gives insight in step-by-step development of the stories from The Silmarillion, but I found it somewhat tedious and redundant.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mitch Milam

    There is only so many times I can read the same story over and over again (with only slight variations) before I start going insane. This is the HoME book that broke me lol.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michael Pryor

    Absorbing, detailed, insightful.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nonabgo

    "The Lost Road" - the 5th volume of Tolkien's "History of Middle-Earth" - is in fact a collection of writings and re-writings of previous works, so in reality it doesn't bring a lot of new material. It feels like you're reading the same stories over and over again, but in reality it's another step forward in the development of the mythology towards the final(-ish) version that is "The Silmarillion". It's also the last book of the 12-volume history that deals with Middle-Earth before the final de "The Lost Road" - the 5th volume of Tolkien's "History of Middle-Earth" - is in fact a collection of writings and re-writings of previous works, so in reality it doesn't bring a lot of new material. It feels like you're reading the same stories over and over again, but in reality it's another step forward in the development of the mythology towards the final(-ish) version that is "The Silmarillion". It's also the last book of the 12-volume history that deals with Middle-Earth before the final defeat of Morgoth. I feel like the book should have been structured differently. It starts with "The Fall of Numenor", but reverts back to the annals (a later version than the one in volume 4) and the Silmarillion, but I guess Christopher Tolkien wanted to present his father's writings in the order they were written and not in the actual chronological order of the events. What this volume brings new is the aforementioned "Fall of Numenor" and "The Lost Road", which was Tolkien's attempt at writing a time travelling story with reincarnation elements (he has a bet with C.S. Lewis about each of them attempting a type of travelling, and while Lewis chose space travelling - and, subsequently, wrote "Alice in Wonderland", Tolkien started working on "The Lost Road", but unfortunately never finished it). Other new elements are "The Lhammas" (account of the tongues) and "The Etymologies", which is basically elvish vocabulary. This volume, I believe, a lot more than the others, is intended only for the most hard-core Tolkien fans, those who really want to dive in and see how his mind worked and how his mythology evolved. Otherwise, it will feel repetitive and the reader might get bored of reading for the nth time about Hurin and Turin and the history of the silmarils.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tommy Grooms

    The fifth volume of the History of Middle-earth is quite a bit of fun after the plodding fourth volume. Here we see the Númenor story shaped, famously as a result of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis agreeing to write a "time travel" story and a "space travel" story, respectfully. It's a shame "The Lost Road" was never written (Tolkien's narrative view of real periods of human history based on his linguistic knowledge would have been fascinating), but nevertheless Númenor is huge: Tolkien's retelling of th The fifth volume of the History of Middle-earth is quite a bit of fun after the plodding fourth volume. Here we see the Númenor story shaped, famously as a result of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis agreeing to write a "time travel" story and a "space travel" story, respectfully. It's a shame "The Lost Road" was never written (Tolkien's narrative view of real periods of human history based on his linguistic knowledge would have been fascinating), but nevertheless Númenor is huge: Tolkien's retelling of the Atlantis myth is a big reason we have the Third Age of Middle-earth as we know it. Númenor's descendants extend the story past the Elder Days and shape most of the history of The Lord of the Rings, and were key to tying the lighthearted Hobbit into the greater legendarium. Some of the linguistic material (the Lhammas and the Etymologies) are dense and tedious for those not of a certain bent, but reveal just how much Tolkien's languages were tied up in his myths. We also get the (incomplete) Silmarillion as it stood before The Lord of the Rings was completed (a great thing to have in the back of my mind as I get ready to re-read The Lord of the Rings), as well as a tiny glimpse into some of the editorial difficulties that went into posthumously publishing the Silmarillion from texts at various stages of development. Tolkien as we know him from his published staples is finally in view, and so far it's been a gratifying trip.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chip

    Still working my way through the 12 volume set. Excellent and exhaustive analysis of the creation of Middle Earth, the milieu of The Lord Of The Rings. Of special significance in this particular volume, p.302: I will say, however, that I now regret certain of the changes made to this tale [of Beren and Luthien, from The Silmarillion]... It is proper to mention that here as elsewhere almost every substantial change was discussed with Guy Kay, who worked with me in 1974-5 on the preparation of The Still working my way through the 12 volume set. Excellent and exhaustive analysis of the creation of Middle Earth, the milieu of The Lord Of The Rings. Of special significance in this particular volume, p.302: I will say, however, that I now regret certain of the changes made to this tale [of Beren and Luthien, from The Silmarillion]... It is proper to mention that here as elsewhere almost every substantial change was discussed with Guy Kay, who worked with me in 1974-5 on the preparation of The Silmarillion. He indeed made many suggestions for the construction of the text (such as, in the tale of Beren and Luthien, the introduction of a passage from the Lay of Leithian), and proposed solutions to problems arising in the making of a composite narrative -- in some cases of major significance to the structure, as will I hope be shown in a later book. The responsibility for the final published form rests of course wholly with me. So the much touted (by Kay) association with Christopher Tolkien (and through him to JRR Tolkien) is in fact regretted by Tolkien, who accepts responsibility for allowing Kay to manipulate him into altering his father's work. Christopher speaks volumes with his deliberate choice of those two words "I regret", and it can't be ignored that Tolkien's and Kay's working relationship dissolved in 1975 and has never resumed.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    Okay, so the beginning of this book was great. I was really into "The Lost Road" and how those stories eventually turned into the Second Age of Middle Earth and the origins of Numenor. After that, we once again delved into the Silmarillion tradition, with some (to me) minor changes to the stories from the versions in the previous volumes. I still love the stories but at this point, as "The Lost Road..." is the 5th book in "The History of Middle Earth" they are getting rather repetitive. Then the Okay, so the beginning of this book was great. I was really into "The Lost Road" and how those stories eventually turned into the Second Age of Middle Earth and the origins of Numenor. After that, we once again delved into the Silmarillion tradition, with some (to me) minor changes to the stories from the versions in the previous volumes. I still love the stories but at this point, as "The Lost Road..." is the 5th book in "The History of Middle Earth" they are getting rather repetitive. Then there was the last section before the Appendices: The Etymologies, which I admit I only read in part because it was just lists of root words in different forms of the Elvish, and Mannish languages in Middle Earth. Truthfully, were it not for the new material relating to Numenor, and how it came about, this book would have only gotten a 2 or maybe 3 star rating from me, just because I didn't feel like there was much else new and note worthy here if one is not quite as into languages as Tolkien was.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Pavel

    This volume of Tolkien's History of Middle-Earth contains one of his most underestimated works - The Lost Road. In this short novel Professor tries to link his imaginary world of ME and real world together. ProfessorT.A. Shippey thought that balancing between those two worlds was the main Tolkien problem and it drastically affected all his writings (not in a good way sometimes, professor Shippey thinks). In The lost Road Tolkien not only links them by bringing his Numenor legend into modern geogr This volume of Tolkien's History of Middle-Earth contains one of his most underestimated works - The Lost Road. In this short novel Professor tries to link his imaginary world of ME and real world together. ProfessorT.A. Shippey thought that balancing between those two worlds was the main Tolkien problem and it drastically affected all his writings (not in a good way sometimes, professor Shippey thinks). In The lost Road Tolkien not only links them by bringing his Numenor legend into modern geography, but also ties his son to the whole ME story, that actually became true after, when Cristofer Tolkien started to edit and combine uncoordinated wrtings of his father and actually produced whole History of Middle-Earth for example.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    This work contains the version of the Simirillion that Tolkien was working on before starting the work on Lord of the Rings, and one of the first versions of the Numenor myth, known as The Lost Road. The Simirillion is creeping closer and closer to its published form, and through Christopher Tolkien's always thorough notes, you see where he took portions of the published version from. If you enjoy a literary detective story, then these books are certainly your cup of tea. One question. I don't th This work contains the version of the Simirillion that Tolkien was working on before starting the work on Lord of the Rings, and one of the first versions of the Numenor myth, known as The Lost Road. The Simirillion is creeping closer and closer to its published form, and through Christopher Tolkien's always thorough notes, you see where he took portions of the published version from. If you enjoy a literary detective story, then these books are certainly your cup of tea. One question. I don't think any of these books contain drafts for The Hobbit itself. Is there a rights issue there? Or are there just no early versions of the story in existence? I haven't seen Tolkien address this...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Breana Melvin

    I really enjoyed The Lost Road segment of this book, but unfortunately is was cut short since Tolkien himself abandoned it. The Lost Road w as very autobiographical in nature and it made me feel closer to this brilliant man and finally understand what he meant when he said he did not invent Middle-Earth, but discovered it. The rest of the book was just more Silmarillion drafts as usual. Glad to be moving on to Volume Six now; I love the first age but I need a break from it after reading eight Fir I really enjoyed The Lost Road segment of this book, but unfortunately is was cut short since Tolkien himself abandoned it. The Lost Road w as very autobiographical in nature and it made me feel closer to this brilliant man and finally understand what he meant when he said he did not invent Middle-Earth, but discovered it. The rest of the book was just more Silmarillion drafts as usual. Glad to be moving on to Volume Six now; I love the first age but I need a break from it after reading eight First Age books in a row.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mike Tuholski

    Another great addition to the HOME series. The first part of this book gives the interesting tale started by Tolkien after "time travel" bet with C. S. Lewis which contains some striking and uncharacteristically autobiographical elements. The Lhammas are essential for understanding what Tolkien meant when he said that, for him, the languages came first and the stories followed. Finally, his most-complete Silmarillion manuscript which he was preparing for publishers is quite an interest read afte Another great addition to the HOME series. The first part of this book gives the interesting tale started by Tolkien after "time travel" bet with C. S. Lewis which contains some striking and uncharacteristically autobiographical elements. The Lhammas are essential for understanding what Tolkien meant when he said that, for him, the languages came first and the stories followed. Finally, his most-complete Silmarillion manuscript which he was preparing for publishers is quite an interest read after following the development of his mythology from the earliest works of the Book of Lost Tales.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Curtis

    Read "The Lost Road" section for a a course at The Mythgard Institute. It was good, but I'm always a little put off by Christopher Tolkien's commentary and notes. Christopher gets a little hard to follow when he starts talking about variations in different manuscripts. Definitely will take some additional reading. I look forward to reading other sections, in particular the Etymologies, but will likely need to put them off until I have more Time. Read "The Lost Road" section for a a course at The Mythgard Institute. It was good, but I'm always a little put off by Christopher Tolkien's commentary and notes. Christopher gets a little hard to follow when he starts talking about variations in different manuscripts. Definitely will take some additional reading. I look forward to reading other sections, in particular the Etymologies, but will likely need to put them off until I have more Time.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Asher Riley

    "The Lost Road And Other Writings" is, like the other books in "The History Of Middle Earth" series, vivid, inspiring and awesome. It is truly a joy to see how Tolkien's world came to be, and to see how his ideas and thoughts for his world unfolded into the timeless "The Hobbit" And "The Lord Of The Rings". Overall, I highly recommend this book, it's by far my personal favorite of the entire series.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Louise Chambers

    Oh my! I wish that I could just dive back into this one right away. There is so much interesting information. I suppose that I should take a year and read all of J.R.R Tolkien's fiction, then read all of his son Christopher's studies of those texts. Then if I have time, I can read all of the criticism, and the biographies. Whee! Now, what in the world do I name the shelf(ves) to categorize this?

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jana

    Really interesting, though I only skimmed the Etymologies and list of names because I felt like they would be more interesting when actually looking for something specific rather than just reading it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shaene Ragan

    Can a person return from the Lonely Isle in Tolkien's world? This book gives the answer to that question and whether or not Frodo's voyage was a euphemism for death. Tolkien's use of Time Travel to fill in the blanks between his imaginary world and Medieval Europe masterfully here.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andre

    Other text providing the evolution of the LOTR universe with an etymology portion. For hard-core fans.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Anna C

    Forget the Lost Road, this should be called "The Lhammas and Other Writings."

  29. 4 out of 5

    Corey

    I am currently trying to work my way through basically every text J.R.R. Tolkien has ever written. Or at least the published ones. Not just The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Not even just The Silmarillion and Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics. ALL of them. Also, books written ABOUT Tolkien and Middle Earth. I've read critical theory reviews of his works, books about the deeper allegorical meanings (despite the fact that he famously hated allegory) and source works on which he based Middl I am currently trying to work my way through basically every text J.R.R. Tolkien has ever written. Or at least the published ones. Not just The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Not even just The Silmarillion and Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics. ALL of them. Also, books written ABOUT Tolkien and Middle Earth. I've read critical theory reviews of his works, books about the deeper allegorical meanings (despite the fact that he famously hated allegory) and source works on which he based Middle Earth. I think, at this point, I've read four different translations of Beowulf. And it's not always an easy task. Christopher Tolkien, bless his heart, has patiently, methodically, painstakingly combed through all these random typewritten, handwritten, loose-leaf, bound manuscripts to try to trace the evolution of what Tolkien called his legendarium. And I've been trying to slog through all of it. The "finished" works (the ultimate definitive texts, not just LotR and The Hobbit, but the posthumous publications like The Silmarillion and The Lay of the Children of Hurin, Tolkien's translation and poetic renditions of Beowulf, are easier to read. I say easier because nothing Tolkien wrote, even The Hobbit, which was originally a children's story, is a quick easy read. But where Christopher Tolkien went through all of his father's writings to try to determine how the stories evolved and changed.... those get a little tougher. I cannot tell you how many times I've read different versions of The Lay of Leithian. So I usually read the texts in the collected history of Middle Earth a little slowly, taking breaks and picking up other books and then going back. But this time, I really struggled with the next step in the history of Middle Earth, The Lost Road and Other Writings. It was particularly painful. I'm not sure why, other than pretty much every one of the previous texts deal with the same subject matter: the creation of the world, the battles between the Elves and Morgoth, Beren and Luthien, Hurin, Turin, Earendel and Elwing, Numenor…. The younger Tolkien included nearly every revision of the stories covered by The Silmarillion in the previous books: The Book of Lost Tales I, The Book of Lost Tales II, The Lays of Beleriand, and The Shaping of Middle Earth, as well as The Unfinished Tales (I'm not quite sure where that one lands). By the time I got around to The Lost Road and Other Writings, I think I was pretty much done with re-reading slight variations on the same story. On the other hand, the next one, The Return of the Shadow, proceeds to the territory covered in LotR, so that should be a nice change. None of this is to say that it isn't worthwhile reading; maybe just that this isn't worthwhile reading if you don't very much want to see how the names of the three Elf tribes changed as Tolkien wrote and re-wrote his legendarium, or if you don't care that almost the only change in a paragraph may be from Melko to Melkor or if you don't want to read an alliterative poem version of a particular story, as well as a rhyming poem version and a prose version. One difference from the previously published texts is that The Lost Road and Other Writings digs into Erriol/Aelfwine's story, whereas he's very much just sort of mentioned in the other works. Aelfwine is an Anglo-Saxon character who somehow ends up in Tol Erresea, the Lonely Isle, and begins to write the story of The Silmarillion, or, rather, to emend a text as written by an Elf named Pengolod. Christopher Tolkien also really expands on one of J.R.R. Tolkien's crazier ideas, that he is a reincarnation of Atlantians, and the story of Numenor is just his way of putting his own past life history into text, though Christopher wisely leaves the reincarnation bit out of this particular book. Boy does he enjoy talking about Numenor and the Akallabeth, though... Sometimes, you can really adore an author and think s/he is brilliant, and still be fully cognizant of the fact that they might have some slightly bizarre ideas. I think I'm ready to take a break from Tolkien for the rest of the year, though....

  30. 5 out of 5

    Octavia Cade

    Okay, let me start with something good, before I get onto the rant. The first hundred odd pages are genuinely likeable. There's a brief sketch of "The Fall of Númenor", but the real item of interest is the unfinished "The Lost Road", which Tolkien started to write as part of a bet with C.S. Lewis that made him take a shot at a time travel story. Basically a father and son leapfrog back in time, to various historical and mythical (and Middle-earth) father-son relationships, and it's well-written Okay, let me start with something good, before I get onto the rant. The first hundred odd pages are genuinely likeable. There's a brief sketch of "The Fall of Númenor", but the real item of interest is the unfinished "The Lost Road", which Tolkien started to write as part of a bet with C.S. Lewis that made him take a shot at a time travel story. Basically a father and son leapfrog back in time, to various historical and mythical (and Middle-earth) father-son relationships, and it's well-written and affecting and I haven't been presented with it ten thousand times before. Alright, that's a slight exaggeration. I'm getting there. My point is if the book had stopped here it would have earned three stars from me. Following this is a lengthy piece on the development of the Middle-earth languages, to which I am utterly indifferent. Genuine dislike, however, doesn't start to sink in until we get to another fucking version of The Silmarillion. Yes, another 150 pages of this crap. In fairness, it's not Tolkien senior who is responsible for said crap. He surely didn't know that his son and publisher would beat hell out of the thing while he was too dead to prevent it, because, more recent excursions aside, at time of publishing this was the sixth version of this bloody story put out. Yes, the SIXTH. First there was The Silmarillion itself, which once upon a time I actually liked. Then there were Books 1 and 2 of The Lost Tales, giving the background to The Silmarillion, and yes, it was less interesting but still a bit. Then the Lays of Beleriand went over it again. Then The Shaping of Middle-earth. Now it's #6, The Lost Road, and I'd call it barrel-scraping except the barrel doesn't exist any more, because when the bottom of said barrel's been this whittled away it's no longer a barrel, it's a fucking cylinder, and all the interest has leaked out. If it weren't for "The Lost Road" story, this book would get one star and that is being generous. I've been a fan of Middle-earth since I was a kid. Reading the Histories has been on my reading bucket list for literally decades, yet you know what? I'm going to stop reading it, at least for a long time, and go onto something less irritatingly exploitative. Because as boring and insulting as I find this continual repetition of the same goddamn material, that's nothing compared to the fact that I'm actually starting to genuinely loathe The Silmarillion. Critical context should not do that, ever.

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