[DWJ] Lurkers on the list

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Fri May 11 11:18:03 EDT 2007

>On May 11, 2007, at 1:48 AM, Beck Laxton wrote:
>> But does anyone else find White's revisions rather odd? (When you buy
>> 'The Sword in the Stone' as part of 'The Once and Future King', TSitS
>> has several chapters changed for others, losing Madam Mim for a visit
>> to Morgan La Fay's castle, for instance. I get so distressed by this,
>> being much atached to the original, that I'm quite incapable of judging
>> whether the changes are really for the better.

The way that Kay can't make up his mind in the later version whether it
was a griffin or one (or many) of the anthropophagi that he shot shows
that this was a rather careless revision, at best.

I read the revision first, and was enchanted by the original when I 
finally found a first edition, and I'll say firmly that I prefer the 
first version by a great margin.

Otter Perry wrote:

>I wouldn't say whether they're better.  However, they're very much in
>line with an overall point of view he developed somewhere along the
>line and revised everything to  fit.  I don't know how to describe it
>exactly, but I would say he got more serious.

Something to do with the War, perhaps: the original versions of The 
Sword in the Stone, The Witch in the Wood and The Ill-Made Knight were 
written before or I think in the case of TI-MK during the War (came 
out in um, 1943?) whereas the revisions to all three books were made 
after the War when The Once and Future King was brought out as a single 
volume.  I have a feeling that something may have hurt him really rather 
badly.  (I avoid reading biographies of people like T.H. White as a 
rule, but I'm sure someone here will be able to say what might have 
upset him badly between the two versions.)

I haven't read the first edition TI-MK, though I have a copy waiting for
me to collect when I can get to Ilford -- only thirty years of hunting
for it, didn't I do well!  I'll find out shortly how much revision there
was to that, I expect.

>If you think the changes in _The Sword in the Stone_ are strange, you
>should read _The Witch in the Wood_, which is the original of the
>second book.

It's a great deal more *fun* than The Queen of Air and Darkness, and it 
doesn't start with tossing a black cat into a cauldron of boiling water 
in order to find the one bone from a pure black cat thus treated that 
will render the holder invisible, when the last thing the wretched woman 
doing this spell wants is to be invisible, seeing that she's the vainest 
item in the history of the universe...

I definitely prefer the earlier versions.


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