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Once and Future King

"A glorious picture of the Middle Ages, not as they were but as they should have been."
Hm. A picture of the doom that awaits us all, passing necessarily from child to adult.

It's dangerous to try re-using the Arthurian legends, because you risk becoming unbearably twee or insufferably noble-mystic – Mabel Lucy Attwell or Hypgnosis, when you need to achieve the glow, the depth, the implausible but convincing everything-equally-in-focus of the Pre-Raphaëlites. T.H. White manages, making a single cord of narrative out of Malory's confusingly short fibres and adding strands of anachronism from his own enormous resources.

Read it. Do not expect or require a happy ending. All we can ever do is struggle to make the best of what we have.

Note: For an introduction to the real thing, try Roger Lancelyn Green; the prose is excruciating, but the cut-paper illustrations in the old Puffin edition are magical. Then try some of the very few successful extensions, such as Ann Lawrence's Hawk of May or Vera Chapman's Three Damosels

I feel the imprint of a world more powerful than the real.

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