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The Once and Future King
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New School Classics- 1900-1999 > The Once and Future King - NO spoilers

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message 1: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments This thread is for background information and general discussion of our 3rd Quarter Group Long Read, The Once and Future King by T.H. White

Please do not post spoilers in this thread.


message 2: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah | 587 comments This has been on my list forever.


message 3: by Katy, New School Classics (new) - added it

Katy (kathy_h) | 9894 comments Mod
What other books have people read on the Arthurian legend?


message 4: by Ian (last edited Jul 04, 2018 11:01AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Slater (yohanan) | 390 comments Katy wrote: "What other books have people read on the Arthurian legend?"

In my case, too many to conveniently list -- or, most likely, for others to tolerate! (I will offer a very select list, if asked....)

Arthurian studies has been a sort of hobby of mine for many years, and it is a LONG time since I had a chance to talk about it outside Amazon reviews. So I may tend overdo it (and probably have on another thread).

Those looking for help without my interference can turn to The Camelot Project, a site set up by scholars for the ordinary reader (but including some advanced material as well). It is dated 2003, but at least part of it is still being curated
http://d.lib.rochester.edu/camelot-pr...

For our purposes, it is most notable for including a very helpful (although not quite complete) "Glossary of Names, Allusions, and Technical Terms in T. H. White's The Once and Future King and The Book of Merlyn."
http://d.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/te...


message 5: by Lia (new) - added it

Lia I've read The Crystal Cave, which is about Merlin from childhood to maturity, and how he ended up "arranging" the begetting of Arthur.

I've read some chapters from Malory (Garett) and Chrétien de Troyes (Perceval). Actually I've read the continuations of as well.

I've read some tales from Mabinogion, Welsh folktales that have clear similarities to many Arthurian tales.

All of that taken from Ian's list, of course. Thanks for contextualizing and for recommending books!


Kathleen | 4206 comments I haven't read any of the "serious" Arthurian legend books. What I know is first from this book, TOFK. After that I saw Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Then saw Excalibur (1981 film), then read The Mists of Avalon. Perhaps my exposure is a little skewed ...


message 7: by Ian (last edited Jul 11, 2018 08:11AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Slater (yohanan) | 390 comments Kathleen wrote: "I haven't read any of the "serious" Arthurian legend books. What I know is first from this book, TOFK. After that I saw Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Then saw Excalibur (1981 film), then read [b..."

This isn't a bad start. There is some genuine, and not well-known, Arthurian material buried in "Mony Python and the Holy Grail," and its creators clearly knew something about the subject, even if, fortunately, nothing got in the way of the humor. (An explication would be tedious, kill the jokes, and a become set of spoilers for anyone who hasn't seen the movie and/or read Malory or TOFK.)

John Boorman's "Excalibur" actually succeeded in sketching in some major elements of Malory's "Le Morte D'Arthur" (even at two hours, it isn't nearly long enough to hit more than a few of the important stories or incidents), along with great production values, and some suitably savage medieval warfare.

I was greatly impressed when I saw it on its release, but wondered how well people unfamiliar with the Arthurian legends would follow it. To judge from some of the reviews at the time, not very well at all.

On the other hand, a distinguished scholar, Norris J. Lacey, in The Arthurian Encyclopedia, concluded that "Despite some flaws and lapses, it is an appealing and reasonably successful translation of Malory to the screen."

[book:The Arthurian Encyclopedia|1617551]


message 8: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah | 587 comments When I was younger I read The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights by James Knowles.

I had to give up on Le Morte d'Arthur: King Arthur and the Legends of the Round Table.
I had been reading it for forever and still had a ton to go.
I'll go back to it at some point and finish it.


message 9: by George P. (last edited Jul 22, 2018 01:17PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

George P. | 582 comments I'm two-thirds through now. I had a head start by reading the 1st part, The Sword in the Stone, a couple years ago. I meant to eventually finish the rest so this was a great stimulus/opportunity.
I hadn't read any Arthurian legend books before, just saw Monty Python's film and I think The Sword in the Stone Disney movie. I don't think I ever saw the 1967 musical film Camelot which is said to be based on White's book. How many have seen that? If so, did you like it? It won some Oscars (Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction and Best Musical Score) but some say it was "corny" or "fluff". Vanessa Redgrave played Guenevere, so that's a draw I think.
I've enjoyed the book overall, found it to be something of a parody of Round Table lore with its anachronistic jokes. To me that's the most enjoyable- a little dull a times without that.


message 10: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Slater (yohanan) | 390 comments George wrote: "I'm two-thirds through now. I had a head start by reading the 1st part, The Sword in the Stone, a couple years ago. I meant to eventually finish the rest so this was a great stimulus/opportunity.
I..."


George, you might want to post some of these thoughts at more length later, and in Spoilers-Allowed threads, where you might get much more adequate responses to your comments about the specific books.

As for the musical "Camelot," it was indeed drawn from "The Once and Future King," mainly from "The Ill-Made Knight" and "Candle in the Wind," with a few touches referring back to "The Sword in the Stone." Written by Alan Jay Lerner (book) and Frederic Loewe (music), it premiered on Broadway early in 1960, directed by Moss Hart, with Richard Burton as Arthur, Julie Andrews as Guinevere, and the young Robert Goulet as a very handsome Lancelot.

It was a popular hit, although not a match to some of L&L's earlier collaborations. It was also linked, perhaps inevitably, to the brand-new Kennedy administration (hence occasional references to his presidency as "Camelot".)

The original script is still available in a paperback edition, bound with a selection from Tennyson's "Idylls of the King," possibly because it made the book look longer, and was out of copyright. (I'm avoiding talking about the plot, or what they took specifically from White.)

The movie version you are thinking of was released in 1967, with considerable re-writing (albeit by Lerner himself), cuttings, and re-arrangements of material.

It is a beautifully produced film with wonderful music (they didn't tamper with Loewe's work, apparently, just lyrics, and where some of it appeared). As an adaptation of White, or even the stage play, it is not so good. But I was impressed by the production values, at least, on its initial release. And, yes, Vanessa Redgrave *is* gorgeous.

She also had demands for script and lyric changes, not wanting the character she was playing to sound *too* pro-war.

(For more information, I suggest consulting Wikipedia, and going on from there -- I just checked my dates and names against its articles.)


ALLEN | 623 comments Ian, I just re-read your highly informative comment of July 22 just above, and wonder if this thread was meant to languish . . . the "SPOILERS" thread has recent entries, and the "Read-Along" thread, but not this one.

I'm not sure what to make of that. - a.s.


message 12: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Slater (yohanan) | 390 comments ALLEN wrote: "the "SPOILERS" thread has recent entries, and the "Read-Along" thread, but not this one.

I'm not sure what to make of that. - a.s. ..."


Neither am I.

Obviously, I haven't paid much attention to this thread, either.

Instead, I've been:

(a) delaying further postings on unicorn hunting, as the tapestries turn out to be more debatable than I thought, and I don't have access to some of the argument. (There is not even agreement on whether all, or at least most, of the Cloister's tapestries belong to the same set -- although I am inclined to think that they are. And I am less convinced than before that White knew them from illustrations, as some of the overlapping details may have come from late-medieval writings about hunting, which he probably knew.)

(b) very slowly comparing the original "Ill-Made Knight" to the OAFK version, and discovering that just about anything I could say about it is (i) trivial or (ii) spoiler-laden -- mostly the former.

The revision doesn't seem to have been as drastic as for "The Sword in the Stone," let alone the cutting that turned "The Witch in the Wood" into "The Queen of Air and Darkness." And I'm not sure how many changes were improvements, or just second-thoughts about how to express something.

So I haven't paid attention to this thread in particular.


message 13: by ALLEN (last edited Aug 30, 2018 12:21PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

ALLEN | 623 comments Ian, you've probably forgotten more about the Arthurian legend than I can learn, but I am trying. I ordered a replacement DEATH OF ARTHUR from thriftbooks, and came into a surprisingly clean (ex-Canadian-libe) copy of Elisabeth Brewer's book about T.H. White:

T.H. White's the Once and Future King by Elisabeth Brewer .
Hopefully I can pick it up soon -- my mentality isn't at 100 percent today, though I did review a kids' book this morning.


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