In The King, a retelling of Le Morte D'Arthur, Donald Barthelme moves the chivalrous Knights of the Round Table to the cruelty of the Second World War. Dunkirk has fallen, Europe is at the breaking point, Ezra Pound and Lord Haw-Haw are poisoning the radio waves, Mordred has fled to Nazi Germany, and King Arthur and his worshipful Knights are deep in the fighting. When the Holy Grail presents itself--which is, in this version, the atomic bomb, "a superweapon if you will, with which we can chastise and thwart the enemy"--they must decide whether to hew to their knightly ways or adopt a modern ruthlessness. Barthelme makes brilliant comic use of anachronism to show that war is center stage in the theater of human absurdity and cruelty. But Arthur, in deciding to decline the power of the Grail, announces his unwillingness to go along: "It's not the way we wage war. The essence of our calling is right behavior, and this false Grail is not a knightly weapon."
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An alternative history in fiction form which explores such concepts as the function of myth in history and the role of royalty in the modern world. King Arthur is rediscovered doing battle with the Nazis, and the grail to end all wars appears to be a bomb.Review:
a daring tour de force that combines legend, parody and literature' -Herbert Mitgang, New York Times
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Book Description Harper & Row, 1990. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0060161957
Book Description Harper & Row 1990-05-01, 1990. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1st. 0060161957 We guarantee all of our items - customer service and satisfaction are our top priorities. Please allow 4 - 14 business days for Standard shipping, within the US. Bookseller Inventory # TM-0060161957
Book Description Harper, NY, 1990. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Moser, Barry (illustrator). 1st Edition. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. This is a New and Unread copy of the first edition (1st printing). In a like dust jacket. A retelling of "Le Morte d'Arthur". Bookseller Inventory # 047919
Book Description Harper & Row, 1990. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0060161957
Book Description Harper & Row, 1990. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110060161957
Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97800601619581.0
Book Description Harper & Row. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0060161957 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW6.1017189