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Reviews Elisabeth brewer, TH. White's The Once and Future King. Arthurian Studies 30. Woodbridge: D.S. Brewer, 1993. Pp. vii, 236. isbn: 0-85991-3937. $53. Despite the fact that TH. White's Once and Future King is 'probably the last major retelling ofthe [Arthurian] story based on Malory, set in the Middle Ages and in the chivalric tradition' (Brewer 19), it has generally been slighted by the academy, even within the communityofArthurian scholars. Since rhe appearance of SylviaTownsend Warner's biography ofWhite in 1967, only three book-length publications have been devoted to White prior to Brewer's: John Crane's TH. White in theTwayne Authors Series (1974), an annotated bibliography from Garland (1986), and Martin Kellman's TH. WhiteandtheMatterofBritain (1988). Such marginalization is understandable, given OFKs reputation as a children's book, its now-dated ideologies, the terminal whimsy that sometimes afflicts its style, and for North Americans, at least, the unavoidable association with such venues as Disney Studios and Broadway. This state ofaffairs is regrettable, however, sinceWhite arguablyshares pride ofplace with MaloryandTennyson as one ofthe triumviratewhose textscruciallyshaped subsequent developments in Anglophone Arthuriana; he is at the very least seminal, directly or indirectly, to the Arthurian revival, particularly in texts and products designed for mass consumption over the past thirty-five years. Given the cultural importance of OFK (however one might value either the book or the products of its influence), a serious scholarly study of the text and its author is long overdue. Elisabeth Brewer has provided just such a study. Mininga rich vein ofprimaryresources—archives, personal interviews, andWhite's own library—as well as mustering a substantial array ofsecondary materials, Brewer has assembled a study that is both impressive in the depth and breadth ofits research, and encyclopedic in its coverage ofall aspects ofWhite and his work, from his troubled personal history through the composition, revision, and publication history oíOFK. After a briefbiographical sketch ofWhite in Chapter 1, Brewer undertakes discussion (Chapters 2-5) ofeach ofthe four books of OFK. 'The Genesis of The Sword in the Stone' (Chapter 2) surveys the Byzantine complex ofvisions and revisions that mark the odysseyofthis firstbook ofOFKfrom its initial British publication (1938), through its recasting for an American readership (1939), to the book's final form (the one with which most ofus are familiar) in 1958. Chapter 3, 'From The Witch in the Woodto The Queen ofAir and Darkness,' looks at the ways in which White's earlier trearment of Morgause, driven by '[t]he overwhelming compulsion that he felt to revenge himself on his mother' (50) and marked by a savage and unpalatable misogyny, sufficiently cathected his oedipal rage to enable revision into the more mediated final version of ARTHURIANA 5.4(1995) 95 96ARTHURIANA rhis book. These two chapters are ofparticular interest to White aficionados as they make available material excised or suppressed from the 1958 ('definitive') edition of OFK. ' The Ill-Made Knight' (Chapter 4) and ' The CandU in the Windor, the Book of Sir Mordre' (Chapter 5), less complex because of the more straightforward compositional history of their subject matters, focus on content and genre. Brewer sees Knight, despite its ostensibly 'romantic' content (i.e. the relationship between Lancelot and Guenever) as rejecting the conventions of the romance genre in favor of those ofthe 'realistic novel,' while the Book of Mordred is described in terms of its dramatic properties and its affinities with Aristotelian tragedy (interestingly, White initially conceived the matter of Mordred as a play [1939]). Five literary essays on White and his work , whose titles are self-explanatory (Chapters 6-10), comprise the latter portion ofBrewer's study: 'Comedy in The OnceandFuture King,' 'Merlyn and The Book ofMerlyn,' 'The Education of Princes,' 'White's Historical Imagination,' and 'White and Malory.' In toto, Brewer's study is as complete an overview of the subject as one could desire. It is also rather a challenge to read. This could not have been an easy book to write, given the sticky nature of its subject matter, for White and his work mesh inextricably to a degree that makes it virtually impossible to discuss one without referencing the other. White's own personality was a disturbing...