The Once and Future King (T. H. White)

29 January 2020

The Once and Future King

The classic novel of King Arthur.

A beautiful paperback edition of The Once and Future King, White’s masterful retelling of the Arthurian legend.

T.H. White’s masterful retelling of the Arthurian legend is an abiding classic. Here all five volumes that make up the story are published together in a single volume, as White himself always wished.

This is the tale of King Arthur and his shining Camelot; of Merlyn and Owl and Guinevere; of beasts who talk and men who fly; of knights, wizardry and war.

It is the book of all things lost and wonderful and sad; the masterpiece of fantasy by which all others are judged.

Average Rating:

Ross Hetherington (9 February 2020 14:59)

For all that it has flaws, I just found this such an overwhelming achievement in both conception, inventiveness and writing, I can't bring myself to give it less than 5 stars.

Sinclair Manson (30 January 2020 20:02)

This was originally published as a series of novels and the sections do feel quite distinct. It romps through Arthur's boyhood with a light heart and his magical and subtle education in rulership is delightful. Throughout, the wilful anachronism is quite charming, as is the quaint translation of character and place into contemporary English familiarities. There is also a lot of serious thought going on. The rise and fall of the Round Table suggests something in human nature incompatible with Utopia, so that every generation must struggle anew, although ultimately the author seems to see it as a failure to learn the right lessons from nature. There are some very unpleasant traces of the times in which the stories were written, especially the overt racism towards the Celtic peoples.