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The Once and Future King by T. H. White
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The Once and Future King (1958)

by T.H. White

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Once and Future King (1-4)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
11,181151251 (4.1)2 / 558
  1. 90
    The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights by John Steinbeck (g026r)
  2. 61
    Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott (LamontCranston)
  3. 52
    The Earthsea Quartet by Ursula K. Le Guin (LamontCranston)
  4. 20
    Arthur Rex: A Legendary Novel by Thomas Berger (eromsted)
    eromsted: For a comic take on the legend
  5. 20
    The Squire's Tale by Gerald Morris (foggidawn)
  6. 10
    The Age of Scandal by T. H. White (BINDINGSTHATLAST)
    BINDINGSTHATLAST: Anotherside of White
  7. 22
    The Magicians by Lev Grossman (wandering_star)
    wandering_star: I thought of making this recommendation when reading the magical education section of The Magicians, which reminded me of the first book of The Once and Future King. But the wider idea - that magical powers can't stop us from making stupid human mistakes - is also relevant to both books.… (more)
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English (146)  Dutch (4)  German (1)  English (151)
Showing 1-5 of 146 (next | show all)
This is one of my most favorite books ever. I just love all the stories of King Arthur and Merlin. I read this a while ago, but I can still remember my favorite parts.

I felt the story flowed along quite nicely and the characters were all engaging. There might be better King Arthur novels, but this one is still my favorite! ( )
  Sarah_Buckley | Sep 17, 2016 |
I've just finished reading this, my first reading and I'm nearly 65 years old. I find it a bit trite, which may be unfair because what has become trite is what other writers have done with White's own vision. Perhaps if I'd read this fifty years ago my feelings might be more favorable. No way comparable to The Mists of Avalon, but I guess I prefer more imaginative retellings like Marion Zimmer Bradley's. ( )
  CurrerBell | Jul 17, 2016 |
What a way to end a year. This book is so full of hope and laughter, and then becomes one of sadness and despair, yet its views on humanity and human nature are just as profound as they were when I first read it at age 14.

And now, knowing how anachronistic this re-telling of the tale is, I understand so much more of what White was describing: how the suppression of the Saxons by the Normans was the start of Arthur's kingship, followed by the flowering of the High Middle Ages, and ending all by cannons. I am especially struck by Mordred's twisted spirit, Agravain's mindless focus on his mother (and his own hidden monstrosity), and the pulling of Arthur into his lawfulness and sadness. The principal actors become archetypes in this re-telling, and many tips of the hat are given to Mallory's description of the battles and panoply.

I know, I know, that Arthur was probably an anglicized Roman general, but the depth of feeling and heights of joy and despair just reflect so much better the heights and depths of the Dark and Middle Ages. ( )
  threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
Quite possibly the best book written on the Arthurian legend. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
The Once and Future King – T.H. White
4 stars
Audio version read by Neville Jason

T.H. White’s best known work is actually a compilation of five separate novels that have been published in various forms and revisions between 1938 and 1977. This audio version included all five parts: Sword in the Stone, The Witch in the Woods, The Ill-made Knight, The Candle in the Wind, and The Book of Merlin. The lighthearted, Disney-famed, Sword in the Stone introduces Arthur as a young boy with his eccentric, wizardly teacher, Merlin. The later books follow Arthur as he forms his round table, establishes his kingdom, and is ultimately betrayed in love and war.
It’s hard to know where to begin in analyzing the elements of this massive work. Much of the early book is light and entertaining. Merlin performs his magic and interjects 20th century commentary. King Pellinore chases the Questing Beast and eventually Arthur pulls the sword from the stone. The later books become darker and White spends more time inserting Freudian and anti-war messages into the text. The underlying social message interferes with the flow of the story, particularly near the end. However, taken in it’s historical context; White was a conscientious objector; the thematic message is the most important aspect of the book.
I would recommend the first book, The Sword in the Stone to anyone who likes medieval fantasy. Both J.K. Rowling and Neil Gaiman cite White’s Merlin as inspiration for their own work. As the stories progress they have more psychological and political depth and should be appreciated for the symbolic commentary.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 146 (next | show all)
It knits together the funny, the moving, the fanciful and the psychologically astute in a rich tapestry of the medieval age of chivalry... Whatever else it is or is not. this is a book of profound patriotic piety which glorifies Arthur as the father of his country, and finds in the childlike wonder and faith of medieval England the crucible of future English greatness.
added by Shortride | editTime (Sep 8, 1958)
 

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
White, T.H.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Howe, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jason, NevilleNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lawrence, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marvin, FredericCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuchart, MaxTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vat, Daan van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
She is not any common earth

Water or wood or air,

But Merlin's Isle of Gramarye

Where you and I will fare.
When shall I be dead and rid
Of the wrong my father did?
How long, how long, till spade and hearse
Put to sleep my mother's curse?
"Nay," said Sir Lancelot "... for

once shamed may never be recovered."
"He thought a little and said:

'I have found the Zoological Gardens of service to many of my patients.  I should prescribe for Mr. Pontifex a course of the larger mammals.  Don't let him think he is taking them medicinally...'
Dedication
For J.A.J.A.
First words
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays it was Court Hand and Summulae Logicales, while the rest of the week it was the Organon, Repetition and Astrology. The governess was always getting muddled - she would take it out of the Wart by rapping his knuckles.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
These editions of The Once and Future King do NOT contain the Book of Merlyn. Please do not combine with the editions that DO contain the Book of Merlyn.
Publisher's editors
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Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
The whole world knows and loves this book.  It is the magical epic of King Arthur and his shining Camelot; of Merlyn and Owl and Guinevere; of beasts who talk and men who fly; of wizardry and war.  It is the book of all things lost and wonderful and sad.  It is the fantasy masterpiece by which all others are judged.
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

A revised omnibus edition of White's retelling of Arthurian legends. The first three sections of this book were originally published separately: The Sword in the Stone (1939), The Witch in the Wood (1939; here called "The Queen of Air and Darkness"), The Ill-Made Knight (1940), and the previously unpublished section, "The Candle in the Wind." The Book of Merlyn, written in 1941, was originally intended as the fifth and final book of the saga. It was first published by the University of Texas Press in 1977 and reissued by Berkley, 1978 (pap.). The whole world knows and loves this book. It is the magical epic of King Arthur and his shining Camelot; of Merlin and Owl and Guinevere; of beasts who talk and men who fly, of wizardry and war. It is the book of all things lost and wonderful and sad. It is the fantasy masterpiece by which all others are judged.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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