Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Books read in 2013: No. 27 -- The Book of Merlyn

by T.H. White

Started: June 8
Finished: June 12

Notes: This book is supposedly the final part of the longer story that is known as The Once and Future King, which I just finished reading. The novel that is The Book of Merlyn for some reason was not included with the printing of The Once and Future King in the 1950s, but was eventually printed separately in the 1970s, years after the author's death. Why this text was not included with the original novel, which is made up of four shorter works, is beyond me at the moment, though I'm sure notes I see at the beginning of The Book of Merlyn will inform me.

Mini review: This book has quite the different tone than The Once and Future King, so I can see how an editor might have cut it out, though some portions of this novel actually do appear in The Once and Future King early on during Arthur's education under Merlin. There is mostly a lighter tone here, though in the end this is a philosophical novel looking at mankind's penchant for violence, especially war. This could almost be a children's book, if not for the serious overtones towards the end. Also, where The Once and Future King had a darker ending, this novel has strong hints of a better future for Arthur and for mankind. There is little doubt the author was influenced by the world in which he lived, Europe during wartime.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

The darker versus the lighter endings probably account for the decision to separate them. I don't even have a copy of this one.