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?

Date: 2017-03-14 06:29 pm (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
It is two very different books.

Whether the difference is down to publishers or T.H. White's shifting opinions with age or is something of an open question, but White was decidedly messed up, considered as a social primate. You can argue for The Witch in the Wood being a much more comprehensive portrait of the resulting bafflement pretty readily.

Date: 2017-03-14 08:33 pm (UTC)
shanaqui: My Habitican mod avatar, featuring me and a pile of books bigger than me. (Default)
From: [personal profile] shanaqui
I'll dig out my notes from my master's degree if I can find them; I had a whole set on the various changes White made to the books over time!

Date: 2017-03-15 11:14 am (UTC)
shanaqui: A little pixel art icon of me: short red hair, green eyes, looking shocked/sad ((Me) ?!)
From: [personal profile] shanaqui
This is more difficult than I thought as my dad informs me they are in the loft (literally "go up, first right, second left, left at the end, duck under the beam, in the pile marked with your name", why is my dad so organised, why does our attic require a map). I will still try and get up there sometime soon as I am now curious myself, having forgotten most of my notes on this.

Date: 2017-03-14 05:28 pm (UTC)
reedrover: (Read Irresponsibly)
From: [personal profile] reedrover
I have to admit that I've only ever read the first one. But I'm intrigued now...

Date: 2017-03-14 07:45 pm (UTC)
reedrover: (Summer)
From: [personal profile] reedrover
I think I know what those words mean, but not all together. Is there a word missing in the first quoted sentence?

Admittedly, I'm doing a work proposal right now, so my current idiom is all kinds of wonky, itself.

Date: 2017-03-14 08:39 pm (UTC)
reedrover: (Default)
From: [personal profile] reedrover
Oooh, yes, that makes so much more sense. And yes, White was not exactly "chirping merry" to use an out of context description.

Date: 2017-03-14 05:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sartorias.livejournal.com
I have to admit that I bought and read the first half as a teen, stopped when I encountered someone boiling a cat, and never read past.


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