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The Once and Future King by T. H. White

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
12,437160301 (4.1)2 / 617
  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
    The Squire's Tale by Gerald Morris (foggidawn)
  5. 20
    The Age of Scandal by T. H. White (BINDINGSTHATLAST)
    BINDINGSTHATLAST: Anotherside of White
  6. 20
    Arthur Rex: A Legendary Novel by Thomas Berger (eromsted)
    eromsted: For a comic take on the legend
  7. 00
    Guinevere's Gift by Nancy Mckenzie (wordcauldron)
  8. 22
    The Magicians: A Novel 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)
  9. 00
    Queen of Camelot by Nancy Mckenzie (wordcauldron)
    wordcauldron: My favorite retelling of Arthurian legend. Period.

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English (155)  Dutch (3)  German (1)  All languages (159)
Showing 1-5 of 155 (next | show all)
White's retelling of the Arthurian legend still has the power to bring both laughter and tears, even on the umpteenth re-reading.

This is on mly re-read list (along with 'Gone With the Wind', 'Hawaii', and most of Steinbeck -- the books I would take with me to that fabled Desert Island -- and like its compatriots, reveals something new to me every time I read it. ( )
1 vote LyndaInOregon | Dec 14, 2018 |
I really enjoyed the first book, but the rest of them were just endless humorless downers. ( )
  gregrr | Oct 30, 2018 |
While I still loved the first book "The Sword in the Stone" (4.5* for that one in this audiobook edition), each succeeding book was less enjoyable and the final book "The Book of Merlin" was just a vehicle for White to expound his own philosophical ideas about why men fight wars and how, if possible, to prevent it. I had never read this 5th book of the series (it wasn't in my old paperback edition of "The Once and Future King") and while I liked the return of Arthur's adventures in the animal world, Merlin and his 'council' were tedious. ( )
  leslie.98 | Aug 5, 2018 |
The time when it was written and the time when it is read matter a great deal in this retelling of the King Arthur legends - T.H. White deliberately sets the story in a post Norman conquest 'Gramarye' and prefixes imaginary or legendary to the names of 12th-15th century figures, and the technological level is mostly late middle ages. There is an appropriateness to this as to some extent the Saxon antagonists of Mallory's story were the victims of the Normans who promulgated the iteration of the older tales on which Mallory based his book.
Except for the first part, this is not an easy read at all, and re-reading it after decades I certainly notice it's combination anti-fascist/anti-anarchist message much more than I did in the 60's or 70s. It is full of cleverness, and there are action scenes, but mostly there are dialogs - between Arthur and many others, among the Morgause's sons, between Lancelot and Guenever, and others, only occasionally in the midst of action. A brilliant section deals with the quest for the Holy Grail by having the surviving questors relate their tales, directly of indirectly to Arthur and Guenever and indicating the effect these tales have on Arthur. Still I am not and never have been happy T.H. White's Arthur of simple slow thought any more than I like other author's gay or bisexual Arthur. All of the other characters given any portion of dialog, and the young Wart are well, are well done.
So when I read this long ago the take away seemed to be look what good and just times we live in now - but just now it seems like the candle is truly in danger of going out. ( )
1 vote quondame | Jul 18, 2018 |
Exceptional book drawn from the stories of our childhood. We all know the characters and stories of Arthur and Knights. But to read this book is to explore the time yourself. You seem to experience it yourself like some real life dream.. full of history, love, politics, and philosophy. A great story indeed that all should experience. ( )
1 vote frschof | Jul 3, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 155 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
T. H. Whiteprimary authorall editionscalculated
Crossley-Holland, KevinIntroductionsecondary authorsome 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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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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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...'
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.
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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Canonical DDC/MDS

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.
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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 7 descriptions

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