One day I will sit down and read a novel that was written a) for adults b) in the last few years but today is not that day, today I sat down with The Once And Future King by TH White, the first book of which of course is The Sword In The Stone, which I read as a slip of a lad.

I’ve only got 3 chapters in so cogent criticism must wait another day but my qn is: was there an abridged version which did the rounds for kids? Because vocab-wise this is take-no-prisoners stuff, chocka with archaisms and comedy interweb-style misspellings (that’s “crocodile” if you were wondering! Winner!) and just a really lush joy in words-as-words. As an adult it’s pretty rich, as a kid – whoa. To be fair I do remember S-in-the-S as being harder going than most but I can’t believe I read the same book I’m reading now, exactly.

Except of course my guess, as explained before re. E Nesbit, is that kids just ignore all the stuff they don’t understand until the proportion of it gets too high (or the plot pivots on motives they can’t fathom). TH White was surely pushing at the limits of that proportion but maybe I did just let the ride carry me.