sword in the stone 5

sword in the stone 5 - Title: The Once and Future King: The...

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Title: The Once and Future King : The Book That Grows Up Author(s): Alan Lupack [(essay date fall 2001) In the following essay, Lupack studies the unique presentation of age progression as shown in the lives of Arthur, Lancelot, Guenever, and Merlyn in The Once and Future King.] T. H. White's The Once and Future King is an experiment in artistic structure, in which the book grows up with the characters. As characters age, genres change from children's story to bildungsroman to romance to tragedy. The Book of Merlyn was intended as the final stage of this process, a philosophical dialogue which reflected upon all the whole of Arthur's life and experience.(ACL) Works that attempt the formidable task of telling the whole story of Arthur must find a way to deal with the range of characters and themes and the multiplicity of tales that constitute the Matter of Britain. The story of Arthur is, after all, many stories even as it is one story. The history of Malory criticism alone illustrates this point. And Malory, like his successors, felt the need to tell many stories (actually many more than the eight that Vinaver defined) in order to tell the one story of Arthur. Tennyson too found it necessary to tell a variety of stories, each one so independent that it could be read on its own--or even, as the Balin idyll was in 1885 and as various idylls have been since, printed without the support of any of its fellows. Though each idyll tells a different tale, the interactions among them reveal a theme and a reinterpretation of the Arthurian world that, as with the various tales in Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, is more than the sum of its parts. Yet the multiple idylls are necessary as a structural device that allows Tennyson to treat the diversity of the Arthurian legend, which can overwhelm an author or undermine a work of art. The attempt to tell the whole Arthurian story despite the range of material it includes no doubt explains the fact that the most common form for treating the Arthurian legend in the latter half of the twentieth century was the trilogy (or in some cases the tetralogy or pentalogy), as is demonstrated by the work of such novelists as Gillian Bradshaw, Vera Chapman, Bernard Cornwell, Stephen Lawhead, Mary Stewart, Fay Sampson, Persia Woolley, and others. Since there are so many recent examples, it is easy to forget that one of the earliest and still most important sequences of novels to tell Arthur's story was that written by T. H. White. Since most people now read the 1958 version of The Once and Future King, we tend to think of it as a single finished book, though a long one that is divided into four parts. Within each of those parts and within the book as a whole, there are some obvious structural devices employed to tie everything together. Evans Lansing Smith has commented on White's 'cunning use of the conventional devices of form that give extraordinary shape and significance to the novel's mythic materials' which involves a 'scheme of parallelism among the books' and a 'plot structure' in each of the books that 'oscillates between opposing settings in
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sword in the stone 5 - Title: The Once and Future King: The...

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