T. H. White

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Photo of a young T. H. White

Terence Hanbury "Tim" White (29 May 1906 – 17 January 1964), better known as T. H. White, was an English novelist best known for his 1958 novel The Once and Future King.[1]

At the age of 51, White fell in love with a preteen male pseudonymously referred to as Zed. They remained friends for 4 years until the young male drifted away. British MAP activist, scholar, and Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) chairman Tom O'Carroll resonated with White's feelings as mirroring his own, quoting the following letter in his book Paedophilia: The Radical Case (1980).[2] The letter relates White's sensitivity and painful attachment:[3]

I have fallen in love with Zed. On Braye Beach with Killie I waved and waved to the aircraft till it was out of sight – my wild geese all gone and me a lonely old Charlie on the sands who had waddled down to the water’s edge but couldn’t fly. It would be unthinkable to make Zed unhappy with the weight of this impractical, unsuitable love. It would be against his human dignity. Besides, I love him for being happy and innocent, so it would be destroying what I loved. He could not stand the weight of the world against such feelings – not that they are bad in themselves. It is the public opinion which makes them so. In any case, on every score of his happiness, not my safety, the whole situation is an impossible one. All I can do is behave like a gentleman. It has been my hideous fate to be born with an infinite capacity for love and joy with no hope of using them.

I do not believe that some sort of sexual relations with Zed would do him harm – he would probably think and call them t’rific. I do not believe I could hurt him spiritually or mentally. I do not believe that perverts are made so by seduction. I do not think that sex is evil, except when it is cruel or degrading, as in rape, sodomy, etc., or that I am evil or that he could be. But the practical facts of life are an impenetrable barrier – the laws of God, the laws of Man. His age, his parents, his self-esteem, his self-reliance, the process of his development in a social system hostile to the heart, the brightness of his being which has made this what a home should be for three whole weeks of utter holiday, the fact that the old exist for the benefit of the young, not vice versa, the factual impossibilities set up by law and custom, the unthinkableness of turning him into a lonely or sad or eclipsed or furtive person – every possible detail of what is expedient, not what is moral, offers the fox to my bosom, and I must let it gnaw.

White never revealed his feelings to the young male: “The love part, the emotional bond, is the agonizing one, and this I have spared him. I never told him I loved him, or worked on his emotions or made any appeals or forced the strain on him.” (Warner, 1967, p. 296). White was a closeted homosexual, whose writings influenced science-fiction writer Michael Moorcock and J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels.

See also


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._H._White
  2. The Radical Case (1980). p. 17.
  3. Warner S. (1967). T.H. White: A Biography. London: Jonathan Cape/Chatto and Windus. pp. 277-282.