White, T.H. (ed.) / The book of beasts
Frazier, Kenneth L.
Introduction, pp. -
INTRODUCTION Terence Hanbury White was born in Bombay, India, in 1906 where his father was a member of the Indian Civil Service. His parents divorced and he returned to England where he spent most of his adult life. He was educated at Cheltenham College and Queen's College, Cambridge. Upon graduation he taught in a prep school at Stowe Ridings in Buckinghamshire. It was here that he began writing in earnest. His first book, a novel entitled Darkness at Pemberley, was published in 1932 under the pseudonym James Aston. When he quit his teaching job in 1937 to write full time he achieved almost immediate success with the publication of The Sword in the Stone (1938), The Witch in the Wood (1939), and The Ill-Made Knight (1940). All these works gained depth and richness from his obsessive study of medieval life and literature. White, known as Tim by his friends, was described by those who met him as a thoughtful, charming, and brilliant man. But he generally avoided socializing, becoming, over time, an increasingly reclusive and sometimes tormented man. He found solace in an amazing range of enthusiasms that included training hawks, piloting airplanes, fishing, signing the deaf alphabet, and reading Braille. His scholarly interests were equally broad. He studied social history, used his knowledge of modern psychology in shaping his fictional characters, added Gaelic to his already substantial linguistic repertoire, and wrote poetry. White eventually achieved financial independence through his writing. In 1958, he published The Once and Fntnre King, a revision of all his books based on the legends of King Arthur. The book became the basis for Lerner and Loewe's hit musical Camelot in 1960. The Sword in the Stone was adapted for an equally successful Disney animated film released in 1963. White spent his last years living on the island of Alderney in the English Channel. Here he continued writing, engaged in charitable activities, but never
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