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T.H. White: A Biography
Sylvia Townsend Warner
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T.H. White: A Biography

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  61 ratings  ·  12 reviews
During a lecture given in the last year of his life, T.H. White explained how, throughout his life, he had armed himself against disaster by exploring new fields of knowledge. Sylvia Townsend Warner has written a biography which reveals White's humour and vivid imagination, and also his passionate enthusiasm - the manner in which he would see a skill, pursue it with passio ...more
Unknown Binding
Published January 1st 1989 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1967)
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3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  61 ratings  ·  12 reviews

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Nov 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'd been wanting to read this biography for several years, ever since buying a copy of The Book of Merlyn that has an introduction by Sylvia Townsend Warner, in which she describes the beginning of T. H. White's "Arthur book":

White was thirty when he rented the gamekeeper's cottage. He had done with his past, he was on good terms with himself, he was free. His solitude was peopled by a succession of hawks, a rescued owl, a setter bitch on whom he unloosed his frustrated capacity to love. Now in
Jim Coughenour
My trouble is that my intelligence is materialistic, agnostic, pessimistic and solitary, while my heart is incurably tender, romantic, loving and gregarious.

Last weekend I had dinner with a friend who was reading Helen Macdonald's H is for Hawk, and she mentioned T. H. White and his love for goshawks. Afterwards I hunted down my battered, banged-up copy of Sylvia Townsend Warner's biography – which I'd bought only because I loved her Lolly Willowes and Mr. Fortune's Maggot – a biography Sadie St
Oct 25, 2014 marked it as to-read
Guys, this sounds really good!:
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
T H White's "Once and Future King" was a gift on my 16th birthday (1964) and I have respected and loved it ever since. Later, I came upon "Mistress Masham's Repose"-- a book for a younger audience-- and found its fantasy setting and its very real, spunky heroine delightful. My sense of the author of these books would include the adjectives "scholarly," "wise," "compassionate."
Warner's bio contains a fair amount of first-hand documentation: journal and correspondence, student recollections, etc.
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This man's life is a series of unexpected events for the reader. A young man, aspiring writer, begins working as a school teacher (great, I'm with you so far), but then it's off like a shot to new places and new interests. I enjoyed following along behind the descriptions of White's fixations, and having instances of his own written words gives the reader a greater immersion in the events. While the course of events do bog down from time to time, I found myself compelled to continue reading in o ...more
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 900s
Fascinating biography of a man I knew nothing about -
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, bio, mexico, nonfiction
This bio was very interesting and well written from the very first page to the very last. I have not read any of T. H. White's works but will now even though I do not expect to like any of them. What surprised me was the memory that 51 years ago when I was in the ninth grade, my English teacher talked of his seeing White speak at a local private school and how awed he was by him. It was one of his last public appearances. I guess it suck in my memory because of his death so soon after. I will to ...more
May 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This biography could have been handled much better. It is essentially just a list of events with diary entries and letters, which was often boring or didn't highlight what I was looking for in a biography. Learning about White was a journey and a lot of fun as the author of some of my favorite books, though.
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
If you really like White's books, read this too. Maybe you'll even be grateful to Walt Disney for buying the rights to make a movie from TOAFK. The income really helped White. I've never seen the movie, never will.
Katherine Sas
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Read this back in 2008 and thought it was a wonderfully well done biography. I'll need to get my hands on a copy of my own for future reference.
Claus Skaaning
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
Hard to read. Written in old-fashioned language. She fails to describe White as an interesting character but rather as a pathetic lonely man.
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Sylvia Townsend Warner was born at Harrow on the Hill, the only child of George Townsend Warner and his wife Eleanora (Nora) Hudleston. Her father was a house-master at Harrow School and was, for many years, associated with the prestigious Harrow History Prize which was renamed the Townsend Warner History Prize in his honor, after his death in 1916. As a child, Sylvia seemingly enjoyed an idyllic ...more