The Road to Middle-earth
The Road to Middle-Earth: How J. R. R. Tolkien Created a New Mythology is a scholarly study of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien written by Tom Shippey. In Great Britain it was first published by Allen & Unwin in 1982, with a second edition published in 1993 by Harper Collins and a revised and expanded third edition published in 2003. It is currently published by Houghton Mifflin in the United States.
The book discusses the sources of Tolkien's inspiration in creating the world of Middle-earth and the writing of works including The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.
A recurrent theme throughout The Road to Middle-earth is that of Tolkien's detailed linguistic studies (particularly of Old Norse and Anglo-Saxon Old English) and the creation of languages (such as Sindarin and Khuzdul) which feature prominently throughout his works. This was informed by Shippey's tenure at the University of Oxford, teaching the same syllabus as Tolkien at a time when Tolkien still spent time there.The second edition included discussion of the 12-volume History of Middle-earth which was compiled and edited by Tolkien's son Christopher Tolkien as a companion piece to the works of his father.
The revised and expanded edition published in 2003 was well received by critics who said of Shippey that, "he writes with unusual clarity and presents his arguments well".
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