The Road to Middle-Earth

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The Road to Middle-earth
First edition
AuthorTom Shippey
CountryUnited Kingdom
PublisherAllen & Unwin
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)

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.[1]

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".[2]

Awards and accolades[edit]

In 1984 the book received the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies,[3] an award "given to books on J.R.R. Tolkien ... that make significant contributions to Inklings scholarship."[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Publication information for The Road to Middle-earth". Houghton Mifflin. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  2. ^ "Publication information for the 3rd Edition of The Road to Middle-Earth". Harper Collins. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  3. ^ "Mythopoeic Awards - List of Winners". The Mythopoeic Society. Archived from the original on 2014-10-10. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  4. ^ "Mythopoeic Awards - About the Awards". The Mythopoeic Society. Retrieved 2009-09-01.

External links[edit]