University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
History of Science and Technology

Page View

White, T.H. (ed.) / The book of beasts
(1960)

Frazier, Kenneth L.
Introduction,   pp. [3]-[4]


Page [3]

               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


Go up to Top of Page