T. H. White’s The Once and Future King

In The Once and Future King, White tells the story of King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, Queen Guenever, and surrounding and supporting characters. During the course of four “books”, White moves from Arthur’s childhood with Merlin to his ultimate failure to rid his kindom of Might and Lancelot’s persecution for his affair with Guenever.

While the story itself is entertaining, it’s the bursts of insight into humanity White gives us that make the book worth reading again and again. Throughout the book there are several places where something as simple as a small turn of phrase or as large as a passage of description reveals an amazing knowledge of the human mind, emotions, motivations, and development. These gems are what provide the ability for me to keep coming back to the book for a new perspective on humanity; what little tidbit may not have struck a chord within me the last time I read it could easily have new significance the next time in light of recent interactions with people and places.