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The Book of Merlyn Mass Market Paperback – Sep 1987


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--This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Berkley Pub Group (September 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425103242
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425103241
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.4 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 91 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,856,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“Superb reading.”—The Kansas City Star

“Filled with poignance and marvelous power…Enthusiasts for White’s touching, profound, funny, and tragic story will not want to miss this version, for it is the true and intended ending of the great work.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“And so the grand epic comes full circle, ‘rounded and bright and done,’ as White had wished it would be.”—Boston Sunday Globe
--This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

T. H. White is the author of the classic Arthurian fantasy The Once and Future King, among other works.
--This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
"MY FATHER made me a wooden castle big enough to get into, and he fixed real pistol barrels beneath its battlements to fire a salute on my birthday, but made me sit in front the first night-that deep Indian night-to receive the salute, and I, believing I was to be shot, cried." Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

By Stephanie Noverraz on Sept. 13 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the fifth and final volume in The Once and Future King pantalogy (after The Sword in the Stone, The Witch in the Wood, The Ill-Made Knight and The Candle in the Wind).
The day before the final confrontation with his son Mordred, Arthur follows Merlyn to the Combination Room, where lives his menagerie. There he listens to the magician and Archimedes, Badger, Urchin and so on, who are in a political debate on how the human way of considering life and the world is different from that of animals.
I was disappointed with the Book of Merlyn, which in fact is hardly a novel. Merlyn's supposedly natural history lesson is but an excuse for discoursing on war and the bellicosity of Man. The only passages where there's an actual story are when Arthur visits the ant nest and travels with the wild geese, but these chapters were already included in The Sword in the Stone. As for what happened to Lancelot and Guenever, it is briefly mentioned in the manner of history books. The introduction on T. H. White's life is interesting, and there are some nice illustrations, but as a whole I found nothing worth recommending this book.
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By Stephanie Noverraz on Sept. 13 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the fifth and final volume in The Once and Future King pantalogy (after The Sword in the Stone, The Witch in the Wood, The Ill-Made Knight and The Candle in the Wind).
The day before the final confrontation with his son Mordred, Arthur follows Merlyn to the Combination Room, where lives his menagerie. There he listens to the magician and Archimedes, Badger, Urchin and so on, who are in a political debate on how the human way of considering life and the world is different from that of animals.
I was disappointed with the Book of Merlyn, which in fact is hardly a novel. Merlyn's supposedly natural history lesson is but an excuse for discoursing on war and the bellicosity of Man. The only passages where there's an actual story are when Arthur visits the ant nest and travels with the wild geese, but these chapters were already included in The Sword in the Stone. As for what happened to Lancelot and Guenever, it is briefly mentioned in the manner of history books. The introduction on T. H. White's life is interesting, and there are some nice illustrations, but as a whole I found nothing worth recommending this book.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The cover of this book touts itself as the TRUE final chapter to The Once and Future King. It very well may hold that distinguished title, however after reading The Book of Merlyn it becomes abundantly apparent why it was not included in the complete novelization of the first four books. In fact, what relevance The Book of Merlyn does hold for the series is severely negated by the fact that much of its impact was integrated into The Once and Future to make that novel complete in and of itself, without the hassle of a superfluous subsequent novel.
And that is what The Book of Merlyn appears to be: superfluous. It was originally intended to be King Arthur's climax, where he finally discovers the truth of the eternal battle between Might and Right as it is capitulated into war. The problem with this amended work is that all of the character development and thought processes that devlops Arthur into the final great Monarch, the one who stops the war, were added to The Sword in the Stone before it was first published. The experiences and situations detailed in The Book of Merlyn ultimately become repetitions, and therefore, anyone who has read The Once and Future King has no reason to read the book of Merlyn.
Moreover, however, standing alone by itself, the Book of Merlyn should not and probably could not be read without the background presented in The Once and Future King. So, inevitably and under any multitude of scenarios, the Book of Merlyn becomes superfluous for any fan of great or minute devotion to White's work. If, in fact, the published version of The Once and Future King had been complete with this amended work, it surely would not have become the classic that it is revered to be today.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you like the Once and Future King as an amuzing story, then watch out, this book is not for you. Here White elevates his discussions to probe humanity's own lack of humanity. Having witnessed the horrors of World War II, White brilliantly exploits the Arthurian legend to analyze and discuss humans: are we as grand as we think we are? Is there hope? Are King Arthur's efforts (or, archetypally, the efforts of any human who is engaged in helping out the human race) fruitful or simply futile?
This is a humanistic work that dares to challenge the assumptions of humanism. Merlyn uses strong polemic to not only argue that humans are bad for nature (this is an incomplete understanding of the text) but that we have less "humanity" than vrtually all other animals. This view seems to be in direct conflict to Arthur's wish to salvage humanity. Yet Merlyn does not see it as a fatalistic view, he very much still shows hope.
The Book of Merlyn is a top-down, ideological examination of humanism enveloped in the archetypal Arthurian myth. It is not a bed-time story. It is not about lovely castles and romantic imagery.
It is about humanity.
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