Reviews - What do customers think about The Sword in the Stone (The Complete Classics)?
Delicious Apr 2, 2008
Pretty much everyone has seen the Disney cartoon, but T.H. White's The Sword in the Stone is a story that must be read. Nowhere in the movie do you get delicious bits like:
"The cottage had a brass plate screwed on the garden gate. It said: Madame Mim, B.A. (Dom-Daniel) Pianoforte, Needlework, Necromancy."
Or how about the casual mention of Merlin in running shorts ... Merlin knitting his beard into the nightcap he's making ... Merlin's dishes washing themselves up, shouting, "Hey! Let's dunk the tea pot!"
Or a falcon who's been mewed up too long and cannot keep from quoting all the bloody passages of Macbeth? (My personal favorite bit of deliciousness, since I have a similar character in my story.)
Most people pick up the story of King Arthur from the day in the churchyard, when young Art pulls the sword from the stone and is hailed by all of Merry Old England as their sovereign lord. T.H. White, however, looks back to the innocent childhood of England's once and future king, the days when outlaws like Robin Wood (read: Hood) roamed the Forest Sauvage and knights spent their entire lives questing mysterious beasts.
While certain passages did drag on and I felt like someone should remind White that young readers aren't interested in philosophy, and he harped about evolution more than once, this would make a wonderful read-aloud ... Ay say, the dialogue is absolutely lovely, what?
Fragmented Masterpiece Dec 24, 2007
Finding a COMPLETE version of this book is difficult. When the Sword and the Stone was grafted onto the rest of the series to form the Once and Future King, T.H. White removed several scenes from the book. Growing up enjoying the Walt Disney version of the film, I was disappointed when I read the Once and Future King. Where was the wizard's duel between Merlyn and Madam Mim? Surely, Disney didn't come up with that on their own.
Well, the truth is these lost parts are still out there if you wish to find them. Some of the lost episodes include: Kay and Wart taken captive by Madam Mim, a wizard's duel between Merlyn and Mim, Wart and Kay battle a giant who has taken King Pellinore captive, Wart becomes a snake, and Archimedes takes the Wart in bird form to meet his mother Athene and hear a song from the trees. The version I found that still contained these passages was published in 1963 and features Disney illustrations on the cover. I do not know if other versions include these chapters, but the Once and Future King does not.
Some speculate that White thought these episodes to be too childish and light-hearted, but I think they are wonderful. The Sword in the Stone is a very difficult book for children. I believe it needs these light-hearted moments to offset the preachy life lessons. Don't get me wrong, I think the lessons that can be learned from the book are innumerable, but everyone needs a little fun with their learning.
If you are looking to read the Sword in the Stone, I encourage you to seek out the oldest version with the chapters still in tact. They're worth it.
Not Free SF Reader Sep 3, 2007
This is the first part of the Once and Future King series of novels. Wart, a young boy, initially has no idea who he really is. This is the story of this young lad, and the events and lessons and trials that lead to him becoming a leader. Of course, it details the bumbling and accidents that lead him to drawing The Sword in the Stone.
Great, but not serious in the least Nov 13, 2006
I enjoyed this book very much as a child but "get" much more of it now.--Funny, funny, funny, and not the least realistic or representative of the Dark Ages in which Arthur must have (may have) lived.-- White's jokes at the expense of the British upper class of the thirties is first-rate; and there are a few hints of the European conflict building at the time of publication. It is a little silly to try to find anything very profound in this one; for a wonderful and more serious treatment of the Arthurian legend, start with The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart.
AWFUL May 29, 2006
This was the absolute WORST book that I have ever read. It the dullest, most boring thing since I learned algebra. After the first chapter, I already wanted to kill myself. But I gave it another chance. And another, and another, and another. I was continually dissapointecd. DO NOT WASTE YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY ON THIS ABORATION OF A BOOK!