I’ve been on a bit of an King Arthur kick lately (thank you, Julie Andrews!), so I thought I’d pursue some books upon the subject. Join me on a literary journey, won’t you?
The books I intend to read are:
The Once and Future King, by T. H. White
Idylls of the King, by Alfred Tennyson
Le Morte d’Arthur, by Sir Thomas Malory
Now I’m sure these cover a lot of the same ground. But I’m eager to read the author’s different takes on the subject. “Idylls” particularly is a series of poems, so they should give a unique profundity to the work. I tried to find these as ebooks, but I might have to pick up a couple of old-fashion paper backs.
Don’t be surprise if some of this “leaks” into the Wizard of Quippley. Don’t be surprise at all…
As a child I was fortunate enough to have access to my grandfather’s copy of “The Boy’s King Arthur.” Although the book itself was in a fragile state, I took great pains to peruse its pages. I remember being captivated by not only the legendary stories, but by the breath-taking artwork within. Having an inclination towards the visual even then, I can not embellish the dramatic impact these illustration had on my imagination.
The artist was none other than the seminal N. C. Wyeth, student of the great artist Howard Pyle, father of artists Andrew and Jamie Wyeth. He illustrated many classic stories, including Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, and Robin Hood. His artwork was vividly realistic, capturing the adventure and depth of the Arthurian legends as no one else could. It brought those timeless characters to life for me, and I knew a part of my soul would never escape their mystery and influence.
Whenever I think of those wonderful stories, in fact anything relating to the Middle Ages, I think of the artwork from that book. My great love for the fantasy genre and for the culture and ascetic of those times can be largely credited to that work.
For more examples of N. C. Wyeth’s contribution to “The Boy’s King Arthur,” browse Wikimedia Commons’ collection of page scans.