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The Lost Road and Other Writings: Language and Legend Before the "Lord of the Rings" (History of Middle-Earth) [Paperback]

J. R. R. Tolkien , Christopher Tolkien
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

21 Sep 1989 History of Middle-Earth
This fifth volume of "The History of Middle-Earth" completes J.R.R. Tolkien's presentation of the whole compass of his writing on the myths and heroic legends of Valinor and Middle-Earth, with an "etymological dictionary" describing words and names in the Elvish languages.


Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd; New edition edition (21 Sep 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0044403984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0044403982
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,349,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

J.R.R. Tolkien was born on 3rd January 1892. After serving in the First World War, he became best known for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, selling 150 million copies in more than 40 languages worldwide. Awarded the CBE and an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Oxford University, he died in 1973 at the age of 81.

Product Description

Review

‘Christopher Tolkien shows himself to be his father’s son… Tolkien devotees will rejoice’ The New York Times Book Review

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

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 Numenor 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 Numenor and Middle-earth with the legends of many other times and peoples.

Also included in this volume is The Lhammas, as essay on the complex languages and dialects of Middle-earth, and an 'etymological dictionary' containing an extensive account of Elvish vocabularies.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A glimpse into Tolkiens mind. 8 Nov 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The Lost Road is the 5th volume of Christopher Tolkiens 12-volume "History of Middle-Earth". It contains the works of J.R.R. Tolkien immediately before starting "The Lord of the Rings". It is edited carefully by his son Christopher, who uses all his knowledge of editing ancient texts (he edited several in his working life as an Oxford scholar) in working with his father's pseudo-ancient text.
The present volume contains a relatively finished version of Tolkien's mythology of the Elder Days, mainly in annalistic form or as comparatively short resumes of the mythology. These are interesting enough in their own right as the give an overview of the very complex mythology at the end of the 1930'ies.
But the part that makes the book valuable even to the less scholarly interested Tolkien-fans is the title-story "The Lost Road". There's not much of it; only four short chapters, but they show the beginning of what might have been another Tolkien-novel.
It is linked thematically with the initial story, a short telling of the fall of Númenor. This is the first version of Tolkiens Atlantis-legend, familiar to readers of the Silmarillion. The story of the greatness and fall of the Númenorean empire ends with the changing of the world. The formerly flat world becomes rounded and the blessed realm of the Valar is placed outside the sphere of Arda, the Earth.
This is the background for the unfinished story of "The Lost Road" which basically is about the longing for a road back to the earthly paradise, the blessed realm, which is beyond the reach of mortal humans. The characters are a father and a son, both with a remarkable likeness to Tolkien himself. Through linguistic and historical riddles we get a dreamlike travel to other times and places.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overview of The History of Middle-earth Series 6 Dec 2008
Format:Paperback
Collections of an author's work are often confusing, particularly when what the author has created is as complex as Tolkien's writings. Here's an overview of the twelve-volume History of Middle-earth, which was edited by his son Christopher Tolkien. Hopefully, it will help you select which book or books to buy.

Keep something in mind. In the U.S. Houghton Mifflin publishes Tolkien's authorized works in hardback and trade paperback editions, while Ballantine Books publishes them as cheaper mass-market paperbacks. For some reason, Ballantine doesn't always make it clear that some of their titles are part of the same History of Middle-earth series as those published by Houghton Mifflin. If the title is the same, the content is the same. Which you buy depends on your taste in books and finances. I have copies of both.

GROUP ONE, VOLUMES I - V, EARLY TALES

These five volumes deal primarily with Tolkien's writings before the publication of The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-55). In them, Tolkien was struggling as a still unknown author to create his first history of Middle-earth.

Vol 1 & 2, The Book of Lost Tales Part 1 ( 1983) & 2 (1984). The Book of Lost Tales was written during the 1910s and 1920s. Wikipedia describes it this way: "The framework for the book is that a mortal Man visits the Isle of Tol Eressa where the Elves live. In the earlier versions of the `Lost Tales' this man is named Eriol, of some vague north European origin, but in later versions he becomes lfwine, an Englishman of the Middle-ages."

Vol. 3, The Lays of Beleriand (1985). These are collections of poems, many of them incomplete, written between the 1920s and the late 1940s.

Vol 4, The Shaping of Middle-earth (1986).
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A GOOD BOOK!!!!!!! 28 Jan 2005
Format:Paperback
This book is about the land of Numenor and the later annals of the Valar and of Beleriand. But in my opinion the most interesting part of this book are the Lhammas. This is the perfect book you must read before reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
GO ON BUY IT!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For any Tolkien linguist this is REQUIRED READING 16 Jan 2000
By Claude Heyman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book contains the Etymologies of the Elvish languages. This is the prime source of all current vocabulary in Quenya, Sindarin, Telerin and all other Elvish tongues.
I HIGHLY recommend that any serious student of Tolkien's languages buy this book.
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lost Road - A must-have for the Tolkienian linguist 6 Jan 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Lost Road, the fifth book in the History of Middle Earth series, publishes for the first time the background material on Middle Earth J.R.R. Tolkien created for his own use as he wrote Lord of the Rings. Some of this draft material was edited and published posthumously in The Silmarillion. The Lost Road includes much of the material found in The Silmarillion in its previous incarnations, all with commentary from JRRT's son, Christopher Tolkien. Included as well is The Lost Road, a time-travel story Tolkien wrote at the behest of his good friend, C.S. Lewis (who was to work on a space-travel story). The Lost Road was never completed; Tolkien abandoned the idea midway.
Especially of interest to Tolkienian linguists are the Lhammas, or book of tongues, which outlines Tolkien's former conception of the dividing and multiplying of the Elvish languages. While this scenario is extremely out of sync with Tolkien's final conception, it is still of interest historically and important in order to understand the section that follows, the Etymologies.
The Etymologies are a /must/ for any Tolkienian linguist. They were and remain the greatest source of vocabulary in all the Elvish languages, and almost the only source for Primitive Elvish stems. While confusing to the non-technical reader, the Etymologies are still the main reference used by Tolkienian linguists. Allthough some of the material in the Etymologies is out of sync with what Tolkien imagined his languages to be as when he wrote Lord of the Rings, the changes necessary to bring Etymologies-style languages to 'modern' languages are mostly well documented.
In short, if you're just someone who enjoys Tolkien's works, this would be a fun read. If you're a serious Tolkienian linguist, this is a requirement.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great by Christopher Tolkien 25 Sep 1998
By olorin69@hotmail.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In the fifth volume of The History of Middle Earth, Christopher Tolkien brings to light even more of his father's great stories. What started as a competition between Inkling members J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis almost became what looks to be a very good story (it ends after only two chapters), and was the foreshadowing of an even greater story--the Fall of Numenor. Tolkien also includes the later Annals of both Valinor and Beleriand, not to mention an early version of the Ainulindale. He also teases die hard fans with the Llamas and the Etymologies, which give new insight on Elvish languages. Also included is Tolkien's second Silmarillion map which shows how his understanding of Middle Earth's geography evolved. I recommend this book to any die hard Tolkien fan and to those who are casually strolling through this beautiful world of Middle Earth.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lost Road - A must-have for the Tolkienian linguist 6 Jan 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Lost Road, the fifth book in the History of Middle Earth series, publishes for the first time the background material on Middle Earth J.R.R. Tolkien created for his own use as he wrote Lord of the Rings. Some of this draft material was edited and published posthumously in The Silmarillion. The Lost Road includes much of the material found in The Silmarillion in its previous incarnations, all with commentary from JRRT's son, Christopher Tolkien. Included as well is The Lost Road, a time-travel story Tolkien wrote at the behest of his good friend, C.S. Lewis (who was to work on a space-travel story). The Lost Road was never completed; Tolkien abandoned the idea midway.
Especially of interest to Tolkienian linguists are the Lhammas, or book of tongues, which outlines Tolkien's former conception of the dividing and multiplying of the Elvish languages. While this scenario is extremely out of sync with Tolkien's final conception, it is still of interest historically and important in order to understand the section that follows, the Etymologies.
The Etymologies are a /must/ for any Tolkienian linguist. They were and remain the greatest source of vocabulary in all the Elvish languages, and almost the only source for Primitive Elvish stems. While confusing to the non-technical reader, the Etymologies are still the main reference used by Tolkienian linguists. Allthough some of the material in the Etymologies is out of sync with what Tolkien imagined his languages to be as when he wrote Lord of the Rings, the changes necessary to bring Etymologies-style languages to 'modern' languages are mostly well documented.
In short, if you're just someone who enjoys Tolkien's works, this would be a fun read. If you're a serious Tolkienian linguist, this is a requirement.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for the Tolkien Enthusiast 2 Feb 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you're a Tolkien scholar, you already know how good this book is. It provides insight into the process of creating many important stories in the Silmarillion, most notably the Downfall of Numenor. Most critically, if you are studying Tolkien languages (Quenya or Sindarin = elvish), you need this book, which includes Etymologies, an important reference. I'm studying Quenya, so this is pretty much mandatory reading.
But if you're reading this review, you're probably a Tolkien fan just browsing. In that case, my message to you is this. Read Lord of the Rings. Then, read the Hobbit and the Silmarillion. If you love the Silmarillion, and want a sense of how it developed over the decades, then get The Lost Road. Otherwise, it will probably be too dry an academic for you.
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