The Book of Merlyn: The Unpublished Conclusion to The Once and Future Kingby T.H. White
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This magical account of King Arthur's last night on earth spent weeks on the New York Times best-seller list following its publication in 1977. Even in addressing the profound issues of war and peace, The Book of Merlyn retains the life and sparkle for which White is known. The tale brings Arthur full circle, an ending, White wrote, that "will turn my completed epic into a perfect fruit, 'rounded off and bright and done.'"
- University of Texas Press
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A most disappointing finish to the genius of The Once And Future King. A large part of the book is simply a repeat - or maybe a rough draft (?) - of the experiences of Arthur's childhood education as the Wart; in particular, when Wart is turned into an ant and when he is turned into a goose. It's as if White had forgotten that he'd already written about it in The Sword and the Stone (which, in my opinion, had a much better, more polished version). The rest of the book is Merlyn's ramblings on communism, socialism, anarchy, nationalism, man's ferocity and need for war...All things which were beautifully suggested in The Once And Future King and did not need to be spelled out for us here (again and again and again...); as if the reader might not have been quite keen enough to pick up on the more subtle version in the first book. Parts of this book are interesting and entertaining and there is some great imagery, but mostly it is a worse account of the original book.
The most brilliant pieces of writing I've ever had the pleasure of reading.
I had high hopes for this book because 'The Once and Future King' is wonderful. My hopes were dashed. This book is a rambling mess.