“ONE OF THE FINEST CHILDREN’S FANTASIES OF THE 20TH CENTURY”: FIRST EDITION OF THE SWORD IN THE STONE
WHITE, T(erence) H(anbury). The Sword in the Stone. London: Collins, 1938. Octavo, original black cloth gilt, original dust jacket. Housed in a custom clamshell box.
First edition of the original version of White’s playful and profound tale of King Arthur’s youth, illustrated with numerous linecuts by the author.
To craft his charming story of "The Wart," the boy who is—unknown to anyone except his magical tutor, Merlyn— the future king of England, White drew inspiration more from his own experiences as a schoolmaster than from Malory's Morte d'Arthur. He also confessed in a letter that he wrote "about what he would have liked to have happened to him when he was a boy" (Gallix, 16). "The characterizations are exceptionally fine and the story has a perfect blend of humor and sentimentality" (Anatomy of Wonder 5-318). "Few would deny its romance and humanity" (An English Library, 56). "One of the finest children's fantasies of the 20th century" (Clute & Grant, 1010-11). White substantially revised the book for its 1958 inclusion in The Once and Future King. In 1963, Disney released an animated adaptation. Dust jacket without price printed on front flap, as sometimes found, perhaps indicating this copy was for export. Gallix A10. Currey, 430. See Cawthorn & Moorcock, Fantasy 100 Best 54.
Book fine. Dust jacket with mild chips to spine ends (slightly affecting lettering) and top edge of front panel; spine and folds lightly toned. A near-fine copy.