HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Big news! LibraryThing is now free to all! Read the blog post and discuss the change on Talk.
dismiss
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White
Loading...

The Sword in the Stone (1938)

by Terence Hanbury White

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Once and Future King (1), Der König auf Camelot (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,526354,015 (3.93)181
A retelling of the Arthurian legend.
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 181 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
A young boy named Wart, being fostered in the home of Sir Ector, finds himself being tutored by the wizard Merlyn in this classic treatment of the youth of King Arthur. Transformed into various different creatures during the course of his education - a fish, a hawk, an ant, a goose and a badge - Wart learns about the nature of power and of warfare, and is taught to question the issues of fairness and justice. Unbeknownst to him, he is in training for his future as a king, and the book ends at the tournament in London, where the future monarch will be revealed by his ability to pull the sword from its stone...

Originally published in 1938 in a slightly different form than its current one - I believe the episode with the ants was added later - The Sword in the Stone was eventually published, together with three sequels - The Witch in the Wood, The Ill-Made Knight and The Candle in the Wind - as the first part of The Once and Future King, T.H. White's epic reimagining of the Arthurian saga. Although the larger work is not considered a children's book, The Sword in the Stone often is, and I recall reading it myself as a girl. White's work was included in the syllabus of the course on the history of children's literature that I took while getting my masters, and I was glad to encounter it again. I found the animal transformations here quite interesting, and was quite struck by the passage in which Wart reflects on Merlyn's teaching style: "the Wart did not know what Merlyn was talking about, but he liked him to talk. He did not like the grown-ups who talked down to him, but the ones who went on talking in their usual way, leaving him to leap along in their wake, jumping at meanings, guessing, clutching at known words, and chuckling at complicated jokes as they suddenly dawned. He had the glee of the porpoise the, pouring and leaping through strange seas."

This is an influential book, inspiring a Disney animated film, and providing the template, in the figure of Merlyn, for such authors as Neil Gaiman and J.K. Rowling, who have both acknowledged a debt to White. I think I also see White's influence in some of Susan Cooper's Arthurian-linked fantasy series, The Dark Is Rising sequence. Well worth the time of any reader who enjoys fantasy fiction. For my part, I'd like to get to the longer work, The Once and Future King at some point. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jun 5, 2020 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» 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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
For Sir Thomas Maleore
Knight

"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.
Quotations
"Castor and Pollux blow me to Bermuda!"
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
That boy is called Wart,
But Merlin knows he's destined
For far greater things.
(SylviaC)

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.93)
0.5 1
1 4
1.5 1
2 21
2.5 4
3 85
3.5 21
4 159
4.5 18
5 122

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 146,699,689 books! | Top bar: Always visible