THE ONCE AND FUTURE
By T.H. White
TERENCE HANBURY (T.H.)
Born May 29, 1906 in Bombay, India
At age 5, White’s parents took him to England to live with his
maternal grandparents while they returned to India.
Established his reputation as a writer after his version of the
Began OFK after re-reading Mallory’s Le Morte D’Arthur
THE ONCE AND FUTURE
“The Sword in the Stone” –1938
“The Witch in the Wood” –1939
Later named “The Queen of Air and Darkness”
“The Ill-Made Knight” –1940
“The Candle in the Wind” –1958
• This was published with the other three books as a tetralogy.
The Book of Merlyn was published posthumously in 1977.
White worked on this project for 20 years.
England Have My Bones (1936)
Mistress Masham’s Repose (1947)
The Age of Scandal (1950)
The Goshawk (1951)
The Scandal-mongers (1952)
The Book of Beasts (1954)
The Godstone and the Blackymor (1959)
THE LEGEND OF ARTHUR
The real Arthur was a composite of two people:
• Ambrosius Aureliannus
• Governor of Britons in the mid 400s AD
• Romanized Briton
• Military leader in 5th Century England
• Became a legend by slaughtering the invading Anglo-Saxons at the Battle
of Badon Hill.
• Because of this, the Saxons did not fight for over 30 years.
ARTHUR IN LITERATURE
7th Century: A Welsh poem, “The Gododdin,” portrayed Arthur as a
9th Century: A Welsh monk named Nennius wrote “This History of
the Britons,” in which Arthur is the leader of British armies against the
Saxon invaders. He wins 12 battles and dies at Camiann.
1137: Geoffrey of Monmouth (England) writes The History of the Kings
• Contains Merlyn as an enchanter, Uther Pendragon as Arthur’s father, sword called
Caliburn, Guenever as Arthur’s wife, etc.
1170’s: Chretien de Troyes (France)
• writes about various romances in Arthur’s courts.
• Lancelot mentioned for the first time
• Camelot mentioned for the first time
• Morgan le Fay as Arthur’s sister
• Holy Grail
1200s: Unknown author in France writes The Vulgate Cycle
• Galahad achieves the Grail and is son of Lancelot
• Merlyn becomes prophet and enchanter
• Mordred is Arthur’s son
• Arthur is carried to sea
• Final battle on Salisbury Lake
1469: Sir Thomas Malory (France) writes Le Morte D’Arthur
• Ideals of chivaly are embodied in knights of the Round Table
• Morgan le Fay is evil and tries to kill Arthur
1859-1885: Lord Alred Tennyson (England) writes The Idylls of the King
• Tennyson applied the legend of Arthur to his time period to teach people lessons of
right and wrong (morals).
What pieces of these legends can be found in OFK? Which authors
are directly mentioned in OFK?
The tale of Tristan (or Tristram, “sad man”) and Isolde (La Beale
Isould) predates and influenced the story of Lancelot and Guenever..
Tristan’s character is similar to that of Lancelot.
Isolde’s character is similar to that of Guenever.
A BIT OF COMEDY
The qualities of a good knight, How T.H. White makes fun of those
according to Malory qualities in “TSITS”
Harping and Singing
PLOT DIAGRAM – FILL IN
Rising Action Falling Action
Man vs. Self ?
Man vs. Man?
Man vs. Society?
Man vs. Nature?
Man vs. Fate? (Free Will vs. Fate)
Education is of high importance.
Right should triumph over Might. Might must be controlled.
War is wrong unless it is fought to defend oneself.
Fate and Free Will play equal roles in determining a person’s
OFK AS A GREEK TRAGEDY
The ancient Greeks believed that the gods controlled a man’s fate,
but they also believed that a man is responsible for his or her own sin.
Free Will: Arthur pays for his sin of incest through Mordred’s
Fate: Uther raped Igraine, and Arthur has to deal with her angry
Similar to Oedipus