jazzfish: Owly, reading (Owly)
[personal profile] jazzfish
Confession time: I've never read The Once and Future King. I adored the Disney Sword in the Stone when I was young, and watched Excalibur before I had any real sense of what was going on it in. Those and a general cultural osmosis formed most of my Arthurian background. I read Lawhead's Pendragon trilogy in junior high, and found it increasingly unreadable from Taliesin through Merlin through Arthur, and don't think I ever got through the tacked-on fourth volume.

But I like reading aloud, and Erin evidently likes being read to and is exceedingly fond of Sword in the Stone, so I've dug up a cheap ebook copy of OFK. It's exactly the kind of ... Edwardian? Early-twentieth-century English prose style, anyway, that I'm partial to, the same as one gets from Milne or Beatrix Potter ("And when Mr. John Dormouse was complained to, he stayed in bed, and would say nothing but ‘very snug;’ which is not the way to carry on a retail business."), or apparently Wodehouse. Very very dry and reserved, but with gorgeous language, and with a sense of such solid /joy/ just underneath. (I am told that the rest of OFK is much less joyful and more bitter.)

This particular copy of OFK consists of five volumes: The Sword in the Stone, The Witch in the Wood, The Ill-Made Knight, The Candle in the Wind, and The Book of Merlyn. Poking around, it looks like the last was published posthumously, but complete, and always intended as a final volume. So I'm happy to have that.

It's The Witch in the Wood that's got me a little confused. According to Wiki, The Witch in the Wood is an earlier and much longer version of the 'standard' second volume, The Queen of Air and Darkness. I'm generally all for Author's Preferred Edition, but in this case it seems more like two completely different books.

Anyone out there read both and have an opinion?
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Adventures in Mamboland

"Jazz Fish, a saxophone playing wanderer, finds himself in Mamboland at a critical phase in his life." --Howie Green, on his book Jazz Fish Zen

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