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The History of Middle-Earth: "the Lost Road" and Other Writings Part 5 Hardcover – 4 Nov 1991

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (4 Nov. 1991)
  • ISBN-10: 0261102044
  • ISBN-13: 978-0261102170
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 15.2 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 925,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

The History of Middle-earth 5
Edited by Christopher Tolkien
INKLINGS OF GREATNESS . . .
J.R.R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis were friends and fellow members of the literary circle known as The Inklings. It is hardly surprising that, at one point, these talented gentlemen embarked on a challenge: Lewis was to write on "space-travel" and Tolkien on "time-travel."
Lewis' novel, Out of the Silent Planet, became the first book of a science fiction trilogy. Tolkien's unfinished story, The Lost Road, chronicles the original destruction of Numenor, a pivotal event of the Second Age of Middle-earth.
In this fifth volume of The History of Middle-earth, Christopher Tolkien brings Middle-earth to its state at the writing of The Lord of the Rings. Entertaining and informative, THE LOST ROAD AND OTHER WRITINGS offers fresh insights into the evolution of one of the world's most enduring fantasies. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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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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The Lost Road is one of my favourite collections of Tolkien's writings posthumously published by his son and editor, Christopher Tolkien. I would go so far as to say The Lost Road may be his best posthumously published work after the Silmarillion. However this edition is absolutely terrible. I have a an older edition bought about twenty years ago which is much better, but it is unfortunately in another country along with the rest of my old Tolkien collection. In order to have a similar set here, I bought several of the volumes of the History of Middle Earth series from amazon in these Harper Collins editions and was extremely disappointed. The following is true for all of them: The print is tiny, the paper is cheap and thin so you can see the shadow of the print on the other side, and worst of all you simply cannot see the maps or other illustrations, which in a work by Tolkien is infamous, disappointing and frustrating and takes a great deal away from the experience of reading it. The books are just not pleasant to handle or read, they feel and look wrong. I did not return them because I like to have as many of Tolkien's works as I can to hand for ready reference and reading, but I will now look for older editions in second hand bookshops and charity shops and give these away as soon as I get better quality, better produced books worthy of Tolkien's writing, and the genius of his work.
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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 Eressëa 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 Ælfwine, 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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A Great series of books from one of the world`s best authors.
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