- Mass Market Paperback: 639 pages
- Publisher: Ace Books; Reprint edition (June 1987)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0441627404
- ISBN-13: 978-0441627400
- Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1.4 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 730 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Once and Future King Mass Market Paperback – July 15, 1987
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“A fierce and damaged man, T. H. White wrote about fierce and damaged people—and children, and animals—with a brilliant, painful innocence that has no equal in literature. He is so good at hurt and shame—how did he also manage to be so funny? I have laughed at his great Arthurian novel and cried over it and loved it all my life.”—Ursula K. Le Guin
“Certain books offer pleasures so rich and enduring, they become part of what defines us. The Once and Future King is like that for me. It manages—by some miracle—to be about its own time, and a distant, legendary time, and about today. It mingles wisdom, wonderful, laugh-out-loud humor and deep sorrow—while telling one of the great tales of the Western world. I envy the reader coming to it for the first time.”—Guy Gavriel Kay
“White took hold of the ultimate English epic and recast it in modern literary language, sacrificing none of its grandeur or its strangeness in the process, and adding in all the humor and passion that we expect from a novel. What was once as stiff and two-dimensional as a medieval tapestry becomes rich and real and devastatingly sad.”—Lev Grossman
“Touching, profound, funny and tragic.”—Los Angeles Times
“Richly imagined and unfailingly eloquent and entertaining, its appeal is timeless and universal. If a reader reads only one Arthurian tale, let this be it.”—Booklist
“The Once and Future King is full of insights, scenes and flourishes that are really quite astonishing.”—The Guardian (U.K.)
About the Author
T. H. White is the author of the classic Arthurian fantasy The Once and Future King, among other works.
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Top customer reviews
White’s classic version of King Arthur is creative, clever, witty and compelling. Sure to please.
Follow young Arthur as “Wart” coming of age with the magic and wizardry of Merlyn, the deceitful and perilous half-sister Morgause, his vision for a better world, the fabled round table, Guenever and Lancelot’s disloyal relationship, son Mordred and the hatred for his father...it’s all here.
Coming in at 640 pages, this is a lengthy read...as are most well thought-out interpretations of King Arthur.
Impressive and enjoyable.
Anyway, the story itself. It begins when the young man who will become King Arthur meets Merlin, goes through his life, all the legends come to life, the sword in the stone, Arthur's eventually fatal misalliance with his sister, Lancelot and Guenevere's betrayal, the Knights of the Round Table, all told with wit, humor, compassion and sensitivity by the great T.H.White. My favorite parts will always be in the first part of the book, when Merlin tutors the young Arthur, or Wart, as he is nicknamed, in the ways of the world by changing him into a beast or a bird or a fish or an insect. Those little vignettes are so charming. Well, I am only halfway through this re-reading, Lancelot just met Guenevere, and, while I know how it will end, I am still absorbed and enthralled, all over again.
White has some deep moral philosophy to cover, and does so well. The author's wit and sarcasm really effectively punctuate the moral conundrums that he explores. The development of Arthur, and of his Camelot is well executed. Arthur ages from a young boy, to an Old Man, and his kingdom cycles from chaos through order, and back again to chaos, and sets up for the next cycle.
The book takes a degree of patience to get through, but overall I found it very much worth the effort.
Thank goodness for Kindle! Now I have a copy of one of my favorites books, and it won't wear out, get stained, water damaged and all those other injuries. Not to mention, now I can read it without wearing my glasses. I love my Kindle. OK, back to the book.
This is a somewhat familiar tale of Camelot, but the author has focused on the people, the tragic triangle, the values and the realistic backdrop of the messy, violent and superstitious world Arthur theoretically lived in. (There is no definitive evidence there was an Arthur King of the Britons. There is an amazing musical called Camelot, but that's for another time...) And there's a wizard, too! This Merlin is part Zen master, seer, cranky old man and screw-up and lots in between. Like I said, real characters as conceived by an author familiar with the legends and committed to attaching humans to icons. This is not your childhood's King Arthur.
There's a lot of humor, too, mind you. King Pellinor and his Questing Beast, Sir Ector, Merlin and more, are laugh out loud funny at times.
I feel like I understand that time in history a little better for having read the book. I like it, I recommend it.