- Paperback: 364 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reprint edition (December 12, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060932236
- ISBN-13: 978-0060932237
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 91 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Essays of E. B. White (Perennial Classics) Paperback – October 3, 2006
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“Some of the finest examples of contemporary, genuinely American prose.” (Washington Post)
About the Author
E. B. White, the author of such beloved classics as Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan, was born in Mount Vernon, New York. He graduated from Cornell University in 1921 and, five or six years later, joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine, then in its infancy. He died on October 1, 1985, and was survived by his son and three grandchildren.
Mr. White's essays have appeared in Harper's magazine, and some of his other books are: One Man's Meat, The Second Tree from the Corner, Letters of E. B. White, Essays of E. B. White, and Poems and Sketches of E. B. White. He won countless awards, including the 1971 National Medal for Literature and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, which commended him for making a "substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children."
During his lifetime, many young readers asked Mr. White if his stories were true. In a letter written to be sent to his fans, he answered, "No, they are imaginary tales . . . But real life is only one kind of life—there is also the life of the imagination."
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White impresses me most with his ability to entertain and inform readers on wide-ranging subjects. He seems as comfortable (and skilled) at writing about serious topics like: segregation (On a Florida Key-1941), "And I felt there were too many people in the world who think liberty and justice for all means liberty and justice for themselves and their friends;" the separation of church and state (Bedfellows-1956), "...I don't think a president should advertise prayer;" environmentalism (Sootfall and Fallout-1956), "I believe that no chemical waste is the correct amount to discharge into the rivers of the world...;"and disarmament (Unity-1960) "Total disarmament would not leave anyone free of the threat of war, it would simply leave everyone temporarily without the help of arms in the event of war;" as he is sharing his insight on less serious subjects, such as: the difficulty with giving up sentimental stuff (Goodbye to Forty-eighth Street-1957), "Trophies are like leeches. The ones made of paper, such as a diploma from school or a college, can be burned if you have the guts to light the match, but the ones made of bronze not only are indestructible but are almost impossible to throw away...;" his well-missed dachshund (Bedfellows), "Whenever the bed was occupied during the daylight hours...Fred would appear at the doorway and enter without knocking. On his big gray face would be a look of quiet amusement (at having caught somebody in bed during the daytime) coupled with his look of fake respectability;" the fate of a sick pig (Death of a Pig-1947), "Never send to know for whom the grave is dug, I said to myself, it's dug for thee;" an unconventional family of geese (The Geese-1971), "...geese are friends with no one, the badmouth everybody and everything;" and a nostalgic, return trip to a favorite boyhood destination with his son (Once More to the Lake-1941), "Summertime, oh, summertime, pattern of life indelible, the fade-proof lake, the woods unshatterable, the pasture with the sweetfern and the juniper forever and ever, summer without end."
He also has great stuff to say about those whose works he admires, for example: (Will Strunk-1957), "A book I have decided not to get rid of is a small one...The Elements of Style, by the late William Strunk, Jr....Am delighted to study it again and rediscover its rich deposits of gold;" an ornithologist (Mr. Forbush's Friends), "If Edward Howe Forbush's prose is occasionally overblown, this results from a genuine ecstacy in the man, rather than a lack of discipline;" and Thoreau (A Slight Sound at Evening-1954), "Hairshirt or no, he is a better companion than most, and I would not swap him for a soberer or more reasonable friend even if I could." Other eclectic topics include: everything you ever wanted to know about the Model T (Farewell, My Lovely!-circa 1936), an eventful trip by ship to Alaska after being relieved of his job as a Seattle Times reporter (The Years of Wonder-1961), and the evolution of the railroad system in Maine (The Railroad-1960). Besides the fact that it contains some of the best essays of all time, the book's foreword provides insight into the authors' views on the genre and its writers, "The essayist is a self-liberated man, sustained by the childish believe that everything he thinks about, everything that happens to him, is of general interest," and the post essay section, entitled About E.B. White, includes an excellent chronology of major events in the man's life and writing career. Also good: The Painted Veil by Somerset Maughan, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.
i always learn something from his insights and amazing adventures.