Once And Future King Mass Market Paperback – 1958
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‘Harry's spiritual ancestor’ JK Rowling
‘As good as anything anyone has written’ Neil Gaiman
‘A sprawling masterpiece of glowing historical prose and psychological power’ Lev Grossman--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
T.H. White died in 1964, leaving a literary legacy that places him alongside J R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis and Mervyn Peake as one of the 20th Century’s greatest British fantasists. He has inspired generations of fantasy writers, from Neil Gaiman to JK Rowling.
Born in India in 1906, White studied at Queens' College, Cambridge, where he wrote a thesis on Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. He found success with his ‘preface to Malory’, The Sword in the Stone, a wonderfully imaginative retelling of King Arthur’s early life. He continued to explore the Arthurian mythos in four further volumes – The Witch in the Wood, The Ill-Made Knight, The Candle in the Wind and The Book of Merlyn – a sequence collectively known as The Once and Future King. The novels were famously adapted into the Disney film The Sword in the Stone in 1963.--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Get this book, now! You will not regret it. I never thought I could love any book more than the Lord of the Rings, but then i read the Once and Future king.
This e-book is so riddled with typos as to be almost unreadable at some points.
There are many dozens of errors in every chapter.
An example from chapter 13:
"...A thkd statement was that the national property of Thisnest was being threatened. Thek boundaries were to be violated, thek domestic animals, the beetles, were to be kidnapped, and thek communal stomach would be starved."
Sure I can still easily read what was intended... but come on! At least use spellcheck before publishing a book and charging money for it.
The production quality is fairly good for the price. The only better edition currently published is by the folio society, the price tag is also twice what this one is.
T. H. White goes to great depths to properly craft his characters, and remains true to his depictions throughout the five books comprising his depiction of the Arthurian legend. All the famous figures - Arthur, Guenevere, Lancelot, and Merlyn, to name a few - are given a new lease on life, and for the first time, we are given a good look at their personalities, from fears to secret desires. White reminds us through his ingenuity and silver tongue that even the greatest of people are fallible, as witnessed in the fall of Lancelot. The reader is given, for the first time that I can recall, a deep look into the thoughts of each character, and what drives their actions throughout the course of each novel.
White's derivations from traditional Arthur also give his work a strikingly original air, casting old characters in occassionally new roles while still largely following the legend. His work with Merlyn struck me as particularly interesting: a man travelling backwards in time, who knows already the sad fate of Arthur yet who does his best to steer Arthur in the proper direction. Of special note is Merlyn's outlook on 'might' versus 'right', and the struggles Arthur has with this issue throughout the tenure of his reign.
On the whole, it is well worth the read, especially if one is a fan of the Arthurian legend. My only complaint comes in the scope of White's narrative; he is, at times, very long-winded, supplying several expansive passages and descriptions that are rather superfluous, and excessive. If you can suffer such things, however, I would highly recommend this brilliant story.
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