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White, T.H.

Someone who succeeds in sharing the power of his imagination: not just "the Middle Ages as they should have been", but the Age of Scandal and the passing of Victoria as they must have been.

It's hard to know, without an encyclopædic and thus extremely depressing knowledge of the studio's output, which Disneyfication has most distorted the book it travesties. This noble sentiment is of course only reinforced by the fact that rampant snobbishness makes sure I take considerable efforts to avoid being exposed to Walt's warped versions of anything I've read. The Once and Future King would defy anyone's efforts. It isn't even a book to read out loud: it's a book to read in absorbed silence, mounting to anguish and urgency as the story grows bleaker and bleaker. A murrain on Disney and all his crew for having the effrontery to touch it. A benison on Seviour for providing just enough illustrations to help my imagination along.

Mistress Masham's Repose introduces the reader to large ideas like scholarship, honesty and fairness to others, but not in such a way that you feel you're being improved. It is not necessary to have read Gulliver's Travels beforehand, but interesting to go back and re-read the Travels afterwards; pick an edition with good notes, as Swift's satire deserves to be understood. I would loftily excuse you for watching the television version with Ted Danson, as the relevant episode was well done and Dr. Lemuel certainly easy on the eye.

The Age of Scandal puts Pope's suave couplets in their context, and Farewell Victoria chronicles one man's bewilderment in the face of change. Here is someone who writes because he has to, impelled and driven by the force of his imagination.