The Lost Road and Other Writings

lost-road-and-other-writings-1000x1000Starting in July 2016, Mythgard Academy will take a look at the fifth volume of the History of Middle-earth (HoME) series, titled The Lost Road and Other Writings, with a free, nine-week seminar.

Previously, the Academy explored the first four volumes in the HoME series, The Book of Lost Tales, Part IThe Book of Lost Tales, Part II, The Lays of Beleriand and The Shaping of Middle-earth. Now, the Council of the Wise and Signum University supporters have chosen to continue this in-depth study of the development of J.R.R. Tolkien’s world of Middle-earth.

Originally published in 1987, The Lost Road and Other Writings contains the eponymous tale of “The Lost Road,” which was written as a sort of contest between J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis in which each would write a science fiction story. Tolkien chose the subject of time travel for his story, while Lewis’ story turned out to be the kernel of what eventually became his Space Trilogy (which is explored, along with “The Lost Road” in Signum University’s Inklings and Science Fiction course). Although Tolkien never finished his story, some have seen his later “Notion Club Papers” as an attempt to return to the same device and theme.

The Lost Road and Other Stories contains, of course, other stories as well, most of which are early versions of the stories that eventually ended up in The Silmarillion. These include “The Fall of Númenor” (later the Akallabêth), annals of Beleriand
and Valinor, the Ainulindalë (The Music of the Ainur), the Lhammas (“Account of Tongues”), and the Quenta Silmarillion. For those who took Signum’s class on invented languages, The Lost Road and Other Stories also contains an etymological dictionary of Elvish languages.

As with all Mythgard Academy seminars, this series is free for all and open to the public. Each session, the first 100 participants will be able to participate in the live discussion. For those who cannot attend live, both video and audio recordings of each discussion will be available on this web page and on our iTunes U course and on the Signum University YouTube channel.

This seminar is made possible by the generosity of everyone who has supported the Mythgard Institute and Signum University through their generous donations. The booksstudied during our Academy discussions are nominated and elected by donors. Earlier this year, in addition to continuing our saunter throughThe History of Middle-earth, we explored the gothic horrors of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and after The Lost Road we will be taking to the stars to explore the galactic landscapes of Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed.

If you would still like to take part in our voting process to decide our future topics for the rest of the year, it isn’t too late! Visit our donation page and help support our free seminars!
– Dr. Corey Olsen

The Lost Road (The History of Middle Earth Vol. 5) by J.R.R. Tolkien

Recommended edition of The Lost Road

Participation Welcome!

To help participants support each other, Mythgard provides the following interaction opportunities:

  • A live chatroom is available at the bottom right of this page where you can converse with other session attendees in real time.
    • There is a little icon on the bottom left pane of the chat widget to open the chat in a separate window, which you should find useful.
  • Also, we have a Mythgard Academy forum where donors can discuss topics related to this seminar. The forum is located in the Signum University Digital Campus within the Community Hearth. Our other Mythgard Academy activities, such as the Silmarillion Film Project can be found on our public forum. (Registration required.)

Also, please “like” the Mythgard Academy Facebook page and follow us on Twitter to get updates and reminders about each session. If you live-tweet the discussions, please use the hashtag #MythAcademy.

The History of Middle-earth, Volume 5 is available from Amazon.


The Lost Road will meet on Wednesdays at 9:30 pm Eastern Time

Week 1: The Fall of Númenor 

Read: Part I, Chapter 1-2 (1-35)

Week 2: Eftsith – The Lost Road 1

Read: Part I, Chapter 3, sections i-ii (36-77)

Week 3: Imrama – The Lost Road 2

Read: Part I, Chapter 3, section iii (77-104)

Week 4: Prepping the Silmarillion for Publication – The Later Annals

Read: Part II, Chapters 1-3 (107-154)

Week 5: The Tree of Tongues – Ainulindalë and Lhammas

Read: Part II, Chapters 4-5 (155-198)

Week 6: The Final Draft of the Early Silmarillion – Quenta Silmarillion 1

Read: Part II, Chapter 6, sections 1-6 (199-245)

Week 7: Myth and History – Quenta Silmarillion 2

Read: Part II, Chapter 6, sections 7-11 (245-291)

Week 8: The Worlds Come Together – Quenta Silmarillion 3

Read: Part II, Chapter 6, sections 12-conclusion (292-338)

Week 9: The End of the Silmarillion

Week 10: Etymologies, with Dr. Andrew Higgins

Read: Part III (339-400)


Choose Future Seminar Topics

Do you want to support the work that the  Institute does for fantasy and other imaginative literature? Would you like to help choose the books we discuss in future seminars? Donate today!