Friday, January 22, 2010

The Once and Future King (2)

T.H. White. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons. 1939.

Why read it? The education of King Arthur for leadership by Merlyn. Part of his training was in learning to live with the animals and gain their perspective. Finally, he founded the Round Table. Merlyn is a most amazing character. A delightful and imaginative tale of what was to become known as Camelot. And a great deal of wisdom.


Merlyn talks to Neptune: “Snylrem stnemilpmoc ot enutpen dna lliw eh yldnik tpecca siht yob sa a hsif?” [Read the sentence from left to right, but the words from right to left.] p. 38.

“…a face which had been ravaged by all the passions of an absolute monarch—by cruelty, sorrow, age, pride, selfishness, loneliness and thoughts too strong for individual brains.” p. 44.

“…the common forest of those times was like a jungle on the Amazon…most of the Forest Sauvage was almost impenetrable, an enormous barrier of eternal trees, the dead ones fallen against the live and held to them by ivy.” p. 86.

“He heard the bowstrings twang again, the purr of the feathers in the air.” p. 104.

From the ants’ perspective: “A question was a sign of insanity to them…life was not questionable: it was dictated.” p. 18.

Life as an ant: “The repeating voices in his head, which he could not shut off—the lack of privacy…the dreary blank which replaced feeling…the total monotony more than the wickedness….” p. 121.

“Rooks don’t just fly, like other birds, but they fly for fun.” p. 146.

“The pigeon, said Archimedes [the owl], is a kind of Quaker…dresses in gray…dutiful child, a constant lover, and a wise parent, she knows, like all philosophers, that the hand of every man is against her…has learned throughout the centuries to specialize in escape.” p. 147.

“Clouds…piled up blossoms of the sky….” p. 164.

Merlyn: “Only fools want to be great.” p. 170.

To be continued.

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