Terence Hanbury “Tim” White (29 May 1906 – 17 January 1964) was an English author best known for his sequence of Arthurian novels, The Once and Future King, first published together in 1958. One of his most memorable stories is the first of that series, “The Sword in the Stone”, published as a stand-alone book in 1938.
Inspired by Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, White decided to produce his own take on the legend of King Arthur.
White’s novel about Arthur’s childhood, The Sword in the Stone (1938), was a popular success. White proceeded to cover the more aspects of the Arthurian legend: The Queen of Air and Darkness (1939; also known as The Witch in the Wood) focused on Arthur’s early days as king, while The Ill-Made Knight (1940) covered the tempestuous relationship between Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere.
The Candle in the Wind was about the last days of Camelot (White adapted a play for its content). However, due to editorial changes, as well as paper shortages during World War II, all four pieces did not appear together until compiled into a revised edition—entitled The Once and Future King—in 1958
Though The Candle in the Wind was seen as the final novel in the series, another manuscript—originally written in 1941—turned up after White’s death. In 1977, it was published as The Book of Merlyn, and ended up spending 24 weeks on The New York Times’ best-seller list.
T.H. White died aboard ship in Piraeus, Greece, on January 17. He was returning home to England after a lecture tour in the United States.