Novels

The Book of Merlyn

T.H. White wrote The Book of Merlyn as the fifth and final book in his Arthurian epic The Once and Future King, but he failed to convince his publisher to include it. I see why. It’s not that I didn’t find anything to like about it. It’s just that the tone is so cerebral and… Read More The Book of Merlyn

Novels

The Candle In the Wind

The fourth and concluding tale in T.H. White’s The Once and Future King went by all too quickly. I remember being frustrated by the meandering quality of the narrative in the first book of the series, The Sword in the Stone. Apparently I got used to it. The Candle in the Wind blew past in  three… Read More The Candle In the Wind

Novels

The Ill-Made Knight

I’ve finished The Ill-Made Knight, the third tale of The Once and Future King. In this story we learn about Lancelot and Guenever, watch Arthur’s England continue to evolve, and observe the ways he continues tweaking his Round Table philosophy. It’s difficult to describe T.H. White’s narrative voice: startling, forceful, wry, deeply wise, matter-of-fact. It’s somewhere between Monty Python and… J.R.R.… Read More The Ill-Made Knight

Novels

The Sword in the Stone

T.H. White’s The Sword in the Stone (1938) is spoken of in my Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia as “a witty and erudite fantasy of Arthur’s boyhood, which combines affectionate satire on 20th-century English manners and mores with broad humor and deep knowledge of both nature and the Middle Ages.” Thank you, Benet’s, for capturing my own hyperbolic reaction… Read More The Sword in the Stone

Novels

Story within a story

Embedded in the rollicking fun of T.H. White’s The Sword in the Stone is this gem: “Sometimes,” he said, “life does seem to be unfair. Do you know the story of Elijah and the Rabbi Jachanan?” “No,” said the Wart. He sat down resignedly upon the most comfortable part of the floor, perceiving that he was in… Read More Story within a story