Terence Hanbury “Tim” White was born in the year 1906 in Bombay to English parents, Constance Aston and Garrick White (superintendent in the Indian police). He had a tough childhood, with an emotionally cold mother and an alcoholic dad, and his parents separated when he was fourteen years old. He is best known for retelling of the Arthurian legends in “The Once and Future King”. White also wrote under the name of James Aston.
He was educated at Cambridge and Cheltenham College. At Cambridge, he was tutored by occasional author and scholar L.J. Potts, who became a lifelong friend and correspondent, with White referring to him as the top literary influence in his life.
While at Queens’ College, White penned a thesis on Thomas Malory’s “Le Morte d’Arthur”, and later graduated in the year 1928 with a first-class degree in English.
In the year 1939, he moved to Ireland as a conscientious objector to World War II. While there, he would write the majority of what would become “The Once and Future King” and two of the sequels to “The Sword in the Stone” were published during this time. In the year 1946, he moved to the third biggest Channel Island called Alderney, where he spent the rest of his life.
Later, he became a teacher and got appointed Head of Stowe school and taught there before he chose to write full-time. The school grounds inspired the setting for “Mistress Masham’s Repose”, which he wrote in the year 1947. The novel was also influenced by “The Midnight Folk” by John Masefield.
He taught at Stowe School in Buckinghamshire for a total of four years. In the year 1936, he published “England Have My Bones”, which was a well received memoir about his time in England. That same year, he left Stowe and lived in one of the workman’s cottages nearby.
While he was here, he wrote and reverted back to a ‘feral state’, and engaged in fishing, falconry, and hunting. He also gained an interest in aviation, which he did in part to try and conquer his fear of heights.
In writing “The Sword in the Stone”, he was influenced by Freudian psychology as well as his lifelong involvement in natural history.
“The Once and Future King” was adapted two different times, once by the BBC, who adapted the story for radio, while Disney made an animated film (released in the year 1963). “Camelot” was adapted as a Broadway musical.
Time included “The Once and Future King” in their list of the 100 Best Young Adult Novels of All Time. At the time of its release, it was a Book of the Month Club selection in the year 1939 and was also well received critically.
His debut novel, called “Darkness at Pemberley”, was released in the year 1932. After he died, his “Once and Future King” series was wrapped up with the release of “The Book of Merlyn”, released in the year 1977. White’s work is from the genres of children’s fiction and fantasy; he also released some books of poetry.
He died of heart failure in Athens, Greece on January 17, 1964 at the age of 57. He died while en route to Alderney from a lecture tour he had been doing in America.
“Gone to Ground” is the “Earth Stopped” duology and was released in the year 1935. A war ends civilization, the nine survivors take shelter underground and spend nine whole days just telling stories, in the same manner of the Decameron.
“The Sword in the Stone” is the first novel in the “The Once and Future King” series and was released in the year 1938. As Merlyn said, learn. It is the one thing that never fails.
Before a famous king was around named Arthur, there was just a curious boy by the name of Wart and a kindly old wizard named Merlyn. Transformed by Merlyn into the forms of fantasy, Wart learns about the value of history from a snake, of courage from a hawk, and education from a badger. These are lessons that help turn this young boy into a man. Wart and Merlyn, together, are going to take the reader through a timeless story of adventure and childhood.
She caught a glimpse of an opening about eight inches wide, down on the final step saw a walnut shell, or something right outside of the nearest door. She went to look at the shell, but was very astonished at what she saw. there was a baby.
Readers enjoyed just sitting back and enjoying the oddball characters, fantastical scenes, and all the colorful imagery. White does a great job of funky blending Modern with Medieval and he even put some funny jokes in. White does a great job of capturing the power, fears, magic, and the joy of myth and youth.
“Mistress Masham’s Repose” is a stand alone novel and was released in the year 1946. Maria, ten years old and the orphaned mistress of Malplaquet, finds the secret of her deteriorating estate. There is a deserted island at the farthest corner, in a temple long ago called Mistress Masham’s Repose, is an entire community of people (or “The People”, which they call themselves), who are just inches tall.
With the help of her one friend, the Professor, Maria quickly learns that the settlement is nothing less than the kingdom of Lilliput, from “Gulliver’s Travels” in exile. The Lilliputians, who have been safely hidden for hundreds of years, are first put in danger by Maria’s clumsy yet well meaning attempts to simplify their lives, but their situation gets more ominous when they become discovered by Maria’s greedy guardians, who only see potential money when they look at The People.
Fans enjoyed the humorous parts of the story, and found this to be a highly entertaining read and tons of fun. White gives his readers a lot to think about as well as a great action packed story. Some readers feel that this one should be more widely known and considered a classic. This is a beautifully written with some exciting, moving, and funny moments.
Books in order of publication by series:
Once and Future King Books
|The Sword in the Stone||(1938)|
|The Witch in the Wood||(1939)|
|The Ill-made Knight||(1940)|
|The Book of Merlyn||(1977)|
|Darkness at Pemberley||(1932)|
|They Winter Abroad||(1932)|
|Mistress Masham’s Repose||(1946)|
|The Elephant and the Kangaroo||(1947)|
|The Book of Beasts||(1954)|
Order of Collections
|A Joy Proposed||(1980)|
|England Have My Bones||(1936)|
|The Age of Scandal||(1950)|
|The Godstone and the Blackymore||(1959)|
|The White / Garnett Letters||(1968)|
|Letters to a Friend||(1982)|