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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
12,600164304 (4.09)2 / 622
  1. 100
    The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights by John Steinbeck (g026r)
  2. 71
    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. 10
    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 (160)  Dutch (3)  German (1)  All languages (164)
Showing 1-5 of 160 (next | show all)
DNF at 17%

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad book in any sense of the way. It's one of those cases where I simply couldn't get into the story for some reason and was constantly putting the book down intertwined by periods of desperately painfully chugging the pages, one at a time.

While I would be willing to give the book a second well deserved chance, there are so many books that I know for certain that I would enjoy much more that I don't know if I will ever have the chance to give this one a second try. ( )
  chirikosan | Feb 25, 2019 |
Easily now one of my favorite books. A new bar against which all fantasy will be measured! ( )
  tntbeckyford | Feb 16, 2019 |
I'm sure this book is a great book, but I could not get into it. I kept going, but really didn't enjoy it. The ending was the best part. Arthur was such a weak character throughout books 2-4. He was better as a kid, but even then, he wasn't the wonderful King you expect to see, just his being a kid makes it less strange.
#Mordredisajerk #Lancelotisbetter ( )
  kat_the_bookcat | Feb 7, 2019 |
Horribly disappointing.

Written by T.H. White, this book, ON THE COVER, totes itself as being “THE WORLD’S GREATEST FANTASY CLASSIC”. Lies. Give me my Hobbit any day.

If I was still in middle school, I may have enjoyed this story more.


This is another re-telling of King Arthur, that is that it sadly only shows us his childhood and then goes over to Lancelot and his story. Part of this disappointment has to do with the writing style, most of it has to do with White constantly telling me what he wants me to get out of the story. And all of the historical references to more modern stories that are SO UNNECCISSARY! It was a pain to work to finish this book, and I only did because it is a tale of King Arthur.

There was only a passing mention of the Lady of the Lake, of the quests, the second half of the novel was focused on Lancelot and Jenny. And that is the most hated part of the story for me. Always have been.

If you are into King Arthur, it is worth the read to see the interpretation, but if not, don’t bother. Seriously. ( )
  Sandeen | Feb 7, 2019 |
I've gone through many fixations in life--enjoying a season of enthusiasm for this, that, or another thing. One I had back in college was with the Arthurian legend. It was my ambition to collect every retelling of the story. Like most of my ambitions, my dedication wasn't up to the task. I purchased a handful of books for my library, but nowhere near all of them. And, of course, my rereading any of these fine books doesn't happen too often. Too many (other) books, too little time.

But every now and then, I do crack open an old favorite. I think I read The Once and Future King only once before, back when I purchased it in the ancient 80's. Recently I decided to give it another read, feeling a bit guilty as it stared at me from the shelf. It was a pleasant surprise to find the book better than I remembered. Mr. White retells the saga of Le Morte D'Arthur, vastly expanding it with more story and humor. (Though, to be honest, it's been years since I read Le Morte as well.) He chronicles King Arthur's life from childhood to the eve of his final battle, as well as taking forays into the lives of Lancelot, Guenever, and Gawaine. It's definitely a 20th Century book, however, as there are a number of side comments alluding to the events and mores of the middle of that century. I'm curious if younger readers who came of age in later decades would find the references as amusing as I did. Still, I don't think human nature has changed all that much, be it in the 6th, 14th, 20th, or 21st Century. I bet the story would still hold up. But don't take my word for it, read it yourself and make up your own mind.
-J. ( )
  Hamburgerclan | Jan 20, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 160 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
White, T. H.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
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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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
“If I were to be made a knight,” said the Wart, staring dreamily into the fire, “I should insist on doing my vigil by myself, as Hob does with his hawks, and I should pray to God to let me encounter all the evil in the world in my own person, so that if I conquered there would be none left, and, if I were defeated, I would be the one to suffer for it.”
“That would be extremely presumptuous of you,” said Merlyn, “and you would be conquered, and you would suffer for it.”
“I shouldn’t mind.”
“Wouldn’t you? Wait till it happens and see.”
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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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)

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