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T.H. White's the Once and Future King

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The Once and Future King defies classification. Is it for children, or for adults? Is it fantasy or a psychological novel? In its great range, it encompasses poetry and farce, comedy and tragedy -and sudden flights of schoolboy humour. White's `footnote to Malory' (his own phrase) resulted in the last major retelling of the story based on Malory's Morte Darthur, and Elisab The Once and Future King defies classification. Is it for children, or for adults? Is it fantasy or a psychological novel? In its great range, it encompasses poetry and farce, comedy and tragedy -and sudden flights of schoolboy humour. White's `footnote to Malory' (his own phrase) resulted in the last major retelling of the story based on Malory's Morte Darthur, and Elisabeth Brewer explores the literary context of White's finest work as wellas considering his aims and achievement in writing it. White's story of Arthur begins with his `enfances', set in an imaginary medieval England, but it is far removed from the conventional historical novel. White was writing in wartime England, a country increasingly absorbed by a need to find an antidote to war. Through the medium of the Arthurian story he found his own voice, his unique contribution to keeping alive the flame of civilisation. Malory's chivalric virtues are rejected in favour of White's own twentieth-century values; the love affair of Lancelot and Guenever is interpreted in terms of modern psychology. The books which eventually made up The Once and Future Kingof 1958 appeared in distinctly different editions. In discussing these, Elisabeth Brewer looks at some of the ways in which White drew on his own personal experience at a deep psychological level, while also incorporating into his story material inspired by his antiquarian pursuits and by his years as a schoolmaster. She completes her study with an account of White's use of historical material, and the relationship of The Once and Future King to the Morte Darthur. ELISABETH BREWER lectured in English at Homerton College, Cambridge. She is the author of books and articles on Chaucer and the Arthurian legends


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The Once and Future King defies classification. Is it for children, or for adults? Is it fantasy or a psychological novel? In its great range, it encompasses poetry and farce, comedy and tragedy -and sudden flights of schoolboy humour. White's `footnote to Malory' (his own phrase) resulted in the last major retelling of the story based on Malory's Morte Darthur, and Elisab The Once and Future King defies classification. Is it for children, or for adults? Is it fantasy or a psychological novel? In its great range, it encompasses poetry and farce, comedy and tragedy -and sudden flights of schoolboy humour. White's `footnote to Malory' (his own phrase) resulted in the last major retelling of the story based on Malory's Morte Darthur, and Elisabeth Brewer explores the literary context of White's finest work as wellas considering his aims and achievement in writing it. White's story of Arthur begins with his `enfances', set in an imaginary medieval England, but it is far removed from the conventional historical novel. White was writing in wartime England, a country increasingly absorbed by a need to find an antidote to war. Through the medium of the Arthurian story he found his own voice, his unique contribution to keeping alive the flame of civilisation. Malory's chivalric virtues are rejected in favour of White's own twentieth-century values; the love affair of Lancelot and Guenever is interpreted in terms of modern psychology. The books which eventually made up The Once and Future Kingof 1958 appeared in distinctly different editions. In discussing these, Elisabeth Brewer looks at some of the ways in which White drew on his own personal experience at a deep psychological level, while also incorporating into his story material inspired by his antiquarian pursuits and by his years as a schoolmaster. She completes her study with an account of White's use of historical material, and the relationship of The Once and Future King to the Morte Darthur. ELISABETH BREWER lectured in English at Homerton College, Cambridge. She is the author of books and articles on Chaucer and the Arthurian legends

30 review for T.H. White's the Once and Future King

  1. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    The most comprehensive biography on T. H. White available.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    I thorougly enjoyed this book. I loved the atmosphere it created and I think that the author used just the right amount of very striking figurative language. It seems like it is very easy to get absorbed into the setting and plot. The characterization of King Arthur is very unique and strong. The ending is incredibly moving and the ambiance of the entire story includes a sort of authenticity and sense of grandeur that is hard for me to explain. I would definitely reccommend this story, I believe I thorougly enjoyed this book. I loved the atmosphere it created and I think that the author used just the right amount of very striking figurative language. It seems like it is very easy to get absorbed into the setting and plot. The characterization of King Arthur is very unique and strong. The ending is incredibly moving and the ambiance of the entire story includes a sort of authenticity and sense of grandeur that is hard for me to explain. I would definitely reccommend this story, I believe it does the legend of King Arthur justice!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Hal

    The true Authorian myth. Disney based their "Sword in the Stone" cartoon on this book. It spinninly tells the tale of King Author's life in three parts, from boy-hood rite-taking, to early questdom, to old-betrayals. A bit wordy, but a good, solid read. The true Authorian myth. Disney based their "Sword in the Stone" cartoon on this book. It spinninly tells the tale of King Author's life in three parts, from boy-hood rite-taking, to early questdom, to old-betrayals. A bit wordy, but a good, solid read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jamest.

    A terrific more modern retelling of the timeless legends of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Faithfull to the original legends but with a few additions and a litterary style that makes it a far easier readbthan Mallory.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Kopacz

    I love the anachronisms but it is too long.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    A Classic innovatively written book. Aspects of adventure, mystery, middle ages history, comedy, and gets you thinking! Entering in my Goods reads shelves causes me to plan to read it again!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sheryl

    Read it in High School. Keep trying to get my boys to read it. Was such a great story.

  8. 4 out of 5

    John Devlin

    An overly long, but nicely re-imagined look at the Arthurian legend.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Angiebaby

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jen

  11. 4 out of 5

    Beylan

  12. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susan MacNeal

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Schulte

  16. 4 out of 5

    Allan Batchelder

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rosie Hopkins

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sherry Yarema

  19. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne

  20. 4 out of 5

    Robert Kaufman

  21. 5 out of 5

    Monloca

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Gourlay

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christy

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Linzey

  25. 4 out of 5

    Deb

  26. 5 out of 5

    Scott Lablanc

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sue

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Hall

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chris Guthrie

  30. 4 out of 5

    Denise

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