May 29

This Day in History

Literary

May 29, 1906:

T.H. White, author of The Once and Future King, is born

On this day in 1906, Terence Hanbury White is born in Bombay, India, to English parents employed by the British civil service.

White attended Cambridge, where he published a book of poems. He taught school for six years until his autobiographical work England Have My Bones (1936) gained critical success. He quit teaching to write full time and became increasingly reclusive. He studied medieval history and wrote books about hunting, fishing, and animals. In 1939, he published the enormously successful The Sword in the Stone, a retelling of the legends of King Arthur, which became a U.S. Book-of-the-Month Club selection. He published four more books in the Arthurian saga during the next several years. In 1958, the volumes were collected in The Once and Future King.

White died aboard a ship in Athens in 1964. After his death, the final volume of the King Arthur series was found among his papers and published in 1977 as The Book of Merlyn.

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