Monday, November 25, 2013

T. H. White Book Discussion

The library will host a discussion of The Once and Future King by T. H. White on Monday, December 9 at 7:00 PM. The program will be free and open to the public. This will be the third in the library’s fall series on British fantasy novels.

Published in 1958, The Once and Future King is White’s contemporary reinterpretation of the legends of King Arthur. This volume collected White’s three earlier Arthurian fantasies and added the concluding tale, so that the four sections of the book are: “The Sword in the Stone”; “The Queen of Air and Darkness”; “The Ill-Made Knight”; and “The Candle in the Wind.”

The Sword in the Stone, first published in 1938 and widely familiar as the source for the 1963 Disney movie, is a whimsical fantasy of the youth and education of King Arthur. White significantly revised this section for publication in The Once and Future King, dropping some episodes and adding others, in order to make it more consistent with the themes subsequently developed in the rest of the book.

The remaining sections are darker in tone and faithful to the central stories of Arthurian legend, especially as interpreted by Sir Thomas Malory in Le Morte d’Arthur. They tell the stories of Arthur’s rule as king and his establishment of the Round Table, of the affair between Sir Lancelot and Queen Guenever, and of Arthur’s struggle with his illegitimate son, Mordred. While White drew on these traditional stories, however, he often reinterprets the characters in contemporary psychological terms.

In The Once and Future King, T. H. White “took hold of the ultimate English epic,” says critic and novelist Lev Grossman, “and recast it in modern literary language, sacrificing none of its grandeur or strangeness.” White, says Grossman, should be “considered one of the founding fathers of modern fantasy, the way Tolkien and C. S. Lewis are.”

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gettysburg Address Lecture

On Wednesday, November 20 at 7:00 PM, the library will host a program to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the delivery of the Gettysburg Address.

The Gettysburg Address is one of the best-known speeches in American history, and David Pruitt will discuss its original delivery and subsequent historical and cultural significance. The program will be free and open to the public.

The Gettysburg Address was delivered on April 19, 1863 at the dedication of a cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, four and a half months after the Union victory in the battle there. Lincoln’s speech was not intended to be the primary focus of the ceremony; that honor belonged to the two-hour oration delivered by Edward Everett. But while Everett’s speech has been largely forgotten, Lincoln’s brief address is now regarded as one of the premier examples of American orator.

We hope you will join us to celebrate this inspirational moment in American history.