Read The King by Donald Barthelme Free Online
Book Title: The King|
Loaded: 2301 times
Reader ratings: 6.7
The author of the book: Donald Barthelme
Edition: HarperCollins Publishers
Date of issue: May 1st 1990
ISBN 13: 9780060161958
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 577 KB
City - Country: No data
Read full description of the books:
Review #1 of "Year of the Review All Read Books"
And I Heard A Voice
The novel/la's aesthetic is the use of dialogue and voice. Most of the story is presented in pure dialogue, we hear the voices of the radio chattering away like a modern day cable news network, the characters in turn discuss the merits and consequences of the radio voices.
There is a kind of chorus featured in the book. Or perhaps it is an audience, if there be any difference. They occasionally narrate for us when certain soldiers or queens or bastards are alone. Where are they hiding? How are they keeping silent when everyone's ears are attuned to dullest frequency of sensible noise.
Amongst the Four Beasts
Yes there are horses in this rendition as well as tanks and rifles and atom bombs. The knights of the Table Round are steeped in the tradition of medieval knighthood. Mechanics of battles are not well enunciated. London is being bombed but what can these horseman in the wilderness do about that? They greet each other and fight and gain respect for each other. War is valorous still to them. They are honorable men. War is theater and the radio is real life. And when fought to a stalemate they combine forces, even become friends. The war seems so far away for the knights. It only exists in rumor and gossip, the same plane as Guinevere's liaisons.
A Woman Clothed in the Sun
Arthur is well aware of his philandering queen, but considers her old at 36. He himself is hinted to be hundreds of years old, as old as the legends. Guinevere is flippant, she takes what she wants and it is lucky for Arthur (and perhaps Hitler) she doesn't want all of Europe. She wants love and one wonders if Arthur offered it if she would even take it. My inclination is yes, but Arthur is preoccupied with time and war. Perhaps we may blame Arthur for his negligence, but how special can we expect a single 36 year old wife to be when he is ten or twenty times her age? When in the time of her whole life he may gain only a dozen white hairs?
Like Two Suns in the Sky
And there is of course the grail. Three equations that would produce an atom bomb. Likely to end the war. The grail has always been a chance for life but now it is a case of mass extinction. England is in the gravest hour of the war, America is nowhere to be found, even rumored to be supporting the Nazis. Mordred is trying to seize the throne. And now that second sun in the sky could wipe it all out. But it is not in Arthur's conscience to use the grail. Perhaps Germany will find it, Perhaps it stays hidden. Arthur becomes the de facto guardian of the grail.
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Read information about the authorDonald Barthelme was born to two students at the University of Pennsylvania. The family moved to Texas two years later, where Barthelme's father would become a professor of architecture at the University of Houston, where Barthelme would later major in journalism. In 1951, still a student, he wrote his first articles for the Houston Post. Barthelme was drafted into the Korean War in 1953, arriving in Korea on July 27, the very day the cease-fire ending the war was signed. He served briefly as the editor of an Army newspaper before returning to the U.S. and his job at the Houston Post. Once back, he continued his studies at the University of Houston, studying philosophy. Although he continued to take classes until 1957, he never received a degree. He spent much of his free time in Houston’s “black” jazz clubs, listening to musical innovators such as Lionel Hampton and Peck Kelly, an experience which influenced his later writing.
Barthelme's relationship with his father was a struggle between a rebellious son and a demanding father. In later years they would have tremendous arguments about the kinds of literature in which Barthelme was interested and wrote. While in many ways his father was avant-garde in art and aesthetics, he did not approve of the post-modern and deconstruction schools. Barthelme's attitude toward his father is delineated in the novels The Dead Father and The King as he is pictured in the characters King Arthur and Lancelot. Barthelme's independence also shows in his moving away from the family's Roman Catholicism (his mother was especially devout), a separation that troubled Barthelme throughout his life as did the distance with his father. He seemed much closer to his mother and agreeable to her strictures.
Barthelme went on to teach for brief periods at Boston University, University at Buffalo, and the College of the City of New York, where he served as Distinguished Visiting Professor from 1974-75. He married four times. His second wife, Helen Barthelme, later wrote a biography entitled Donald Barthelme: The Genesis of a Cool Sound, published in 2001. With his third wife Birgit, a Dane, he had his first child, a daughter named Anne, and near the end of his life he married Marion, with whom he had his second daughter, Kate. Marion and Donald remained wed until his 1989 death from throat cancer. Donald Barthelme's brothers Frederick (1943 - ) and Steven (1947- ) are also respected fiction writers and teachers at The University of Southern Mississippi.
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