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T.H. White: A Biography [Hardcover]

Sylvia Townsend Warner


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Book Description

April 1989 Oxford lives
During a lecture given in the last year of his life, T.H. White explained how, throughout his life, he had armed himself against disaster by exploring new fields of knowledge. Sylvia Townsend Warner has written a biography which reveals White's humour and vivid imagination, and also his passionate enthusiasm - the manner in which he would see a skill, pursue it with passionate curiosity and having mastered it, move on to something else, whether this was falconry or flying, painting or ploughing a field. The book traces White's brilliant career at Cambridge and his employment as a teacher at Stowe until a publishing contract allowed him to devote himself entirely to his novels. It explains how the journal he kept of his ill-fated attempts to train a falcon provided the basis for his book "The Goshawk", and how his continuing preoccupation with the Arthurian legends led eventually to the four books of "The Once and Future King". The biography also describes his periodic dependence on alcohol, brought on by bouts of recurrent melancholy.

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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good overview but not always accesible Jan. 23 2009
By Danny C. Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This biography gives a good overview of T.H. White's life and works but Sylvia Warner's writing style is sometimes difficult and dense. She is able to convey White's pain and emotional difficulties with vividness. I suspect White suffered from Asperger's syndrome in addition to alcoholism, and repressed homosexuality. She probably could have expanded the section on his childhood and adolescence. Of course the book centers on the Once and Future King. She provides insight and reveals nuances in his most famous work but doesn't explain why he didn't finish revising it and why he abandoned the Book Of Merlyn. I wanted to know why he altered the Sword in the Stone to it's detriment and why the publisher never included the Book of Merlyn in the Once and Future King if that was his intention.
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