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The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White

The Sword in the Stone (1938)

by Terence Hanbury White

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Once and Future King (1)

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2,360353,989 (3.94)169
Recently added byMINSLibrary, private library, mgodown, Odailey, LynnStutz, BAICA, KellyFordon
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For a long holiday road trip with my son, I thought he'd enjoy this introduction to Arthurian mythology. I did it with some hesitation, as The Once and Future King was one of my favorite books as a child and I feared it may not hold up to nostalgia. I'm pleased though that this first installment of the tetralogy is still an enjoyable, modernist spin on the story of King Arthur, filling in the story of Arthur's childhood. Of course, I always thought the The Sword in the Stone was the best of the four parts. One thing I didn't know is that White actually made major changes when he incorporated The Sword in the Stone into The Once and Future King, and while I can't really remember enough to recognize most of the changes I was surprised that Disney didn't actually make up the duel between Merlyn and Madame Mim. Another thing I didn't notice is a kid was just how blatant the anachronisms are, with Meryln living backwards in time making them a running gag. Knowing how much White loved hunting, I also noticed that he puts a lot of detail into his descriptions of hunts throughout the book, something I must have glazed over as a child. What remains the same is that the book contains a lot of humor, adventure, animal lore, a cameo by Robin Hood (er, Robin Wood), and surreptitious pacifist social satire. And my son, well he covered his ears a lot during the scary party, but insisted we keep listening to the story and that we move on to The Witch in the Wood next. ( )
1 vote Othemts | Oct 17, 2017 |
Sure I've read countless books and seen plenty of movies and TV shows that cover Arthurian mythology, but The Sword in the Stone was my very favorite Disney movies as a kid - and I grew up during Disney's so-called renaissance (shout out to Mad Madam Mim and Archimedes). So, upon reflection, it's odd that I never had any interest in reading White's book, on which the animated movie was based. It actually wasn't I read Mark Twain's [b:A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court|162898|A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court|Mark Twain|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348239402s/162898.jpg|2621763] that I decided to read this and it is such a gem! I've since been trying to get my ten year old nephew to read it or let me read it to him. So far, I've only managed to get him to watch the Disney movie, which, by the way, he was not impressed with. Oh well. ( )
  mariannem85 | Oct 5, 2017 |
I found this on a list somewhere of 'books everyone should have read', so picked it up from the YA section of the library and dutifully did so. It was a bit of a curate's egg. The anachronisms were a bit strange and the plot was light-to-non-existent. I found the dialogue punctuation irritating after a while - there were a lot of new paragraphs with the same speaker as the previous one, where the quotation marks suggested it should be a new one. Often I wasn't sure which 'he' was being referred to, either.

On the other hand, I did like some of the descriptive passages, like this one of the old English seasons (when the weather behaved itself):

"In the spring all the little flowers came out obediently in the meads, and the dew sparkled, and the birds sang; in the summer it was beautifully hot for no less than four months, and, if it did rain just enough for agricultural purposes, they managed to arrange it so that it rained while you were in bed; in the autumn the leaves flamed and rattle before the west winds, tempering their sad adieu with glory; and in the winter, which was confined by statute to two months, the snow lay evenly, three feet thick, but never turned into slush." ( )
1 vote AJBraithwaite | Aug 14, 2017 |
I do not believe this is the identical book that we read. We had the unabridged version with a different cover.

It always amazes me what my boys will enjoy. The unabridged version carries a lot of description, scenery, Latin, big vocabulary that makes it a hard book for me to read out loud. But my boys always asked for more.

The adventure intertwined with imaginative wishings that came true allowed the boys to feel what it would be like to slither like a snake, fly like a bird, swim like a fish...These ramblings of the imagination were give under the guise of 'education' that any boy would revel in. They also were essential for the training needed for the boy turned man.

(Makes me wonder about all these new rules of writing that take out the tangents to make sure the plot is moving forward.)

The boys were sad to see the end come. ( )
1 vote Sonya.Contreras | May 21, 2017 |
A cute fantasy of Arthur's childhood.

I liked the descriptions of Wart's experiences transformed into a fish, snake, hawk, owl and badger.

Sometimes the dialect spelling got annoying.

The use of the word Indians seemed jarring, politically incorrect and out of place. ( )
  nx74defiant | Oct 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
White, Terence Hanburyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Collins, PatrickDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elwell, TristanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jason, NevilleNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lawson, RobertIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, AlanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nolan, DennisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Sir Thomas Maleore

"I pray you all, gentlemen and gentlewomen that readeth this book, from the beginning to the ending, pray for me while I am on live, that God send me good deliverance, and when I am dead, I pray you all pray for my soul."
Sir Thomas Maleore, Knight.
July 31st, 1485.
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.
"Castor and Pollux blow me to Bermuda!"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Haiku summary
That boy is called Wart,
But Merlin knows he's destined
For far greater things.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399225021, Hardcover)

An old wizard named Merlyn takes care of a curious young boy named Wart and transforms him into Arthur, the future king of Britain, in a beautiful new edition of the classic tale, enhanced by luminous paintings. Children's BOMC Main.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:02 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A retelling of the Arthurian legend.

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