This is actually four books in one. It traces the journey of the young King Arthur to the end of his life. The Disney movie, The Sword In the Stone was taken from the first of the books.One of the most readable of the Arthurian books, it can be read by all ages.
A somewhat humorous retelling of Mallory's version of the Arthur/Camelot/Guinevere/Lancelot story. Well worth reading! Part I appears to have been the basis for Walt Disney's The Sword in the Stone. But beware having children read this book. Contains incest, adultery, etc.
mayqueene reviewed The Once and Future King (International Collectors Library) on
Helpful Score: 3
The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Quartet of novels by T.H. White, published in a single volume in 1958. The quartet comprises The Sword in the Stone (1938), The Queen of Air and Darkness--first published as The Witch in the Wood (1939)--The Ill-Made Knight (1940), and The Candle in the Wind (published in the composite volume, 1958). The series is a retelling of the Arthurian legend, from Arthur's birth to the end of his reign, and is based largely on Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte Darthur. After White's death, a conclusion to The Once and Future King was found among his papers; it was published in 1977 as The Book of Merlyn
This is one of several books I remember reading as a teenager that showed me the magic and imagination that can be found in books.
Many people seem to believe that White is too long- winded but they're not taking into account the entire world the author has to bring to life complete with it's inhabitants. He gives it depth and makes it tangible with his attention to detail of a time long ago.
The story begins with a young Arthur and the approach that White takes reflects the whimsy and enchantment that the world possesses to a child. As Arthur comes into his role as king, the approach becomes less mystical and the tone more adult. By the third book, it's almost hard to believe that this is the same story the reader began with, yet White does it seamlessly and maintains the fluidity.
He expresses his views on politics, religion, and human nature through this masterfully crafted tale and, although it's a bit preachy at times, it doesn't detract from the story making this one of the greatest interpretations of Arthurian legend.
One of the definitive Arthurian novels. T.H. White's version is by far the most popular account of Arthur and his Knights. This is a great starter for young readers, as well as a wonderful tale for all ages.