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The Lost Road


Mar 3, 2017
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The Undying Lands
I wanted to start a thread about The Lost Road because I didn't see one. I just read it for the first time, as part of reading through everything Numenor-related, and I absolutely loved it. For those of you who don't know, The Lost Road is an unfinished novel (only a few chapters were completed) set in our current Age in The Lost Road and Other Writings. Christopher adds lots of insightful commentary and various other poems from Tolkien about the Straight Path and that sort of thing. The work seems like a crossroads of sorts between Tolkien's self-contained mythology and his conception of the "faerie" in the real world. Not surprisingly, the story hinges on the "remembering" of lost languages and on the power of names.

I like Tolkien's more conversational writing style in it. He is very poetic with his writing in it while remaining concise. I think it seems highly autobiographical, and I'm interested to hear what everything thinks about it.


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Aug 19, 2019
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At the risk of eliciting huge yawns from our sages here, I’ll drop in a bit of background information.

JRRT and C.S. Lewis had at one point reached the conclusion that if they wanted to read more books of the kind that they liked, they would have to write them themselves. Lewis opted for (won / lost the coin toss?) space travel, JRRT for time travel. Lewis actually managed to get three books published, collectively known as “The Cosmic Trilogy” (overall title of my single-volume paperback by Pan Books, UK, 1990): “Out of the Silent Planet” (1938), “Perelandra” (1943, also titled “Voyage to Venus” in a later edition) and “That Hideous Strength” (1945). JRRT, not surprisingly, didn’t get his part “The Lost Road” finished.

The main problem he may have faced is that he had envisioned a father-son pair, from our times, “travelling” (the means of “travel” may also have been an issue) back in time to various periods in the past, ultimately “landing” them in Númenor as Elendil and Isildur. The problem itself seems to have been that things just got repetitive.

JRRT later, in 1945 (while he should have been working on the “New Hobbit” – perhaps by then already retitled) took another shot at it, which ended up also a fragment, “The Notion Club Papers”, to be found in Volume 9 of HoMe “Sauron Defeated”. I’m not entirely sure about this, but JRRT may actually have mentioned this diversion to his publisher Stanley Unwin, which must have given the long-suffering man a “what are you doing?!?” moment.

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