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Elwyn  Brooks  'E.B.'  White

short profile

'Elements of Style'

primary works

other works

works about E.B. White

movies, plays, other media

E.B. White quotations

family & friends


            writer E.B. White [1899-1985] at his farm

"It's hard to know when to respond to the seductiveness of the world and when to respond to its challenge . . . I arise in the morning
torn between the desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day."

signature of E.B. White

          B I O
          t e x t
          h e r e

E.B. White entry at Wikipedia
browse the E.B. White Store {36 titles} at Amazon
E.B. White credits [1954-2006] at Internet Movie Database

awarded the American Academy of Arts & Letters Gold Medal in 1960
awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963
awarded the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal in 1970
awarded the National Medal for Literature in 1971
awarded the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award in 1977 for "Letters of E. B. White"
awarded a Special Pulitzer Award for General Non-Fiction in 1978, 'for his letters, essays, and the full body of his work'

Strunk & White's  "The Elements  of  Style"
Cornell University professor William Strunk, Jr. [1869-1946] wrote his prescriptive American English writing style guide in 1918, and it was published by Harcourt in 1920. Strunk and Edward A. Tenney revised and published the guide as "The Elements and Practice of Composition" in 1935. E.B. White was his student and a fellow member of the informal Manuscript Club at Cornell, circa 1920. When White praised 'the little book' in The New Yorker in 1957, Macmillan & Company commissioned White to revise and expand the 1935 edition for re-publication under the original title. The book was republished in 1972, 1979, 1999, and 2005; the combined editions have sold ten million copies.
book entry at WikipediaWm. Strunk entry at Wikipedia

'The Elements of Style' book by Strunk & White   "The Elements of Style, 50th Anniversary Edition" [2008]
Longman 8¼x5 hardcover [10/2008] out of print/used
"The Elements of Style, Illustrated" [2005] with 57 illustrations by Maira Kalman
Penguin Books 8½x6 pb [8/2007] for $9.60
Penguin Press 8½x6¼ hardcover [10/2005] out of print/40+ used
"The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition" [1999]
by William Strunk, Jr. & E.B. White, Foreword by Roger Angell

Longman mass pb [8/99] for $6.94
Longman 8¼x5¼ hardcover [9/99] for $9.27
"The Elements of Style: A Style Guide For Writers" [First Editions 1918/1919/1920]
SoHo Books 8x5¼ 1920 First Edition pb [10/2011] for $5.40
free etext of 1920 First Edition at Internet Archive
free etext of 1919 First Edition at Bartleby Online
Kindle Edition of 1918 First Edition [1/2014] for $2.99
CreateSpace 8½x5¾ 1918 First Edition pb [12/2005] for $7.95

in 2005, a New York composer named Nico Muhly premiered a short opera based on the book

Primary  Works

"The Lady Is Cold: Poems by E. B. White" [1929]

"Is Sex Necessary? Or, Why You Feel The Way You Do" [1929] with James Thurber [1894-1961]

"Subtreasury of American Humor" [1941]

"One Man's Meat" [1942]

"The Wild Flag" [1943]

listed #10 on American Mensa mini-survey to choose the Top Ten Favorite Children's Books (8/2014)  "Stuart Little" [1945]

"Here Is New York" [1949] by E.B. White

  GREEN CHECK: listed on Goodread Readers Picks '100 Books To Read In A Lifetime'  BLACK CHECK: listed on Amazon's '100 Books To Read In A Lifetime'  "Charlotte's Web" [1952] by E.B. White [1899-1985], Illustrated by Garth Williams [1912-96]
E.B. White entry at WikipediaGarth Williams entry at Wikipediabook entry at Wikipedia

¨            ¨

"The Second Tree From The Corner" [1954]

"The Points of My Compass" [1962]

"The Trumpet of The Swan" [1970]

Other Works

"Letters of E.B. White" [1976] Collected & Edited by Dorothy Lobrano Guth

"Essays of E.B. White" [1977]
        back cover?

"Poems and Sketches of E.B. White" [1981]

"Writings From The New Yorker, 1927-1976" [1990] by E. B. White, Edited by Rebecca M. Dale

Movies, Plays, Other Media

http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=390166 [1931 & 1932]

"The Family That Dwelt Apart" animated short [Canada 1973] is narrated by White and based on his short story

Omnibus American Profiles on DVD  "Omnibus: American Profiles" DVD Box Set [2011]
E1 Entertainment b&w DVD set [7/2011] 2 disks for $16.99
contains 14 programs or segments on two disks: featured topics include Leonard Bernstein; Pearl Buck; the F-100 warplane; William Faulkner; Grand Central Terminal in New York City; photographer Philippe Halsman; The New York Times; Sugar Ray Robinson & Stillman's Gym; Dr. Seuss; James Thurber; E.B. White reading "A Maine Lobsterman"; and Frank Lloyd Wright
series credits at IMDbseries entry at Wikipedia

E.B. White  Quotations

"There's no limit to how complicated things can get on account of one thing leading to another."

"It is time [that] men allowed their imaginations to infect their intellect."

"After all, what's life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die." — in "Charlotte's Web", 1952

"A right is a responsibility in reverse."

"It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both."

"Young writers often suppose that style is a garnish for the meat of prose, a sauce by which a dull dish is made palatable.
Style has no such entity; it is nondetachable, unfilterable."

"It takes more than genius to keep me reading a book."

"Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder."

"Children almost always hang onto things tighter than their parents think [that] they will."

"Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time."

"The city is like poetry; it compresses all life, all races and breeds, into a small island and adds music and
the accompaniment of internal engines."

"A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word to paper."

"New York is to the nation what the church spire is to the village – the visible symbol of aspiration and faith,
the white plume saying [that] the way is up."

"The time not to become a father is eighteen years before a war.

"To perceive Christmas through its wrapping becomes more difficult with every year." (in 1949)

"Love is the strange bewilderment which overtakes one person on account of another person."
~~ James Thurber & E.B. White

"We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry."

"I admire anybody who has the guts to write anything at all."

"Be obscure clearly."

"Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar."

"The world is full of people who have never, since childhood, met an open doorway with an open mind."

"I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature
and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority."

"The only sense that is common in the long run, is the sense of change and we all instinctively avoid it."

"Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind."

"One of the most time-consuming things is to have an enemy."

"Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one."

"You have been my friend . . . That in itself is a tremendous thing." — in "Charlotte's Web", 1952

"As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate.
Hope is the one thing left to us in a bad time."

"Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day."

"When my wife’s Aunt Caroline was in her nineties, she lived with us, and she once remarked: ‘Remembrance is sufficient of the beauty we have seen’.
I cherish the remembrance of the beauty I have seen. I cherish the grave, compulsive word."

"Life’s meaning has always eluded me and I guess it always will. But I love it just the same."

"Safety is all well and good: I prefer freedom." — in "The Trumpet of The Swan" [1970]

"You're terrific as far as I am concerned."

"Life is like writing with a pen. You can cross out your past but you can't erase it."

"In The Words of E. B. White: Quotations From America’s Most Companionable of Writers" [2011]
Edited by his granddaughter Martha White
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU6nbdhuUR8 [1:38]

Works About E.B. White

"Onward and Upward: A Biography of Katharine S. White" [1987] by Linda H. Davis

"Katharine and E.B. White: An Affectionate Memoir" 1988] by Isabel Russell

The Story of E.B. White children's book by Melissa Sweet   "Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White" [ages 9 & up; 2016]  10/2016
Written and Illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Afterword by {granddaughter} Martha White

"the first-ever visual biography of E.B. White"; #1 bestseller on Amazon
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt BFYR 9x7 hardcover [10/2016] for $14.72

Family & Friends
Elwyn Brooks White was born 11 July 1899 in Mount Vernon, New York; he worked at The New Yorker Magazine from 1926 to 1976;
he died from Alzheimer's at home in Maine on 1 October 1985.

wife Katharine Sergeant Angell White [1892-1977], married 1929-1977
"Onward and Upward In The Garden" [1979] Edited & with Introduction by E.B. White
"Onward and Upward: A Biography of Katharine S. White" [1987] by Linda H. Davis

stepson Roger Angell [b. 1920] is retired from working at The New Yorker Magazine

Let Me Finish memoir by Roger Angell  "Let Me Finish" memoir [2006] by Roger Angell
An unsentimental look at his early days growing up in Prohibition-era New York
with a remarkable mother, Katharine Angell White, who was a founding editor
of The New Yorker, and a famous stepfather, the writer E.B. White

Kindle Edition from Mariner Books [2007 edition] for $9.99
Mariner Books 8x5¼ pb [6/2007] for $15.13
Harcourt 8½x6 hardcover [5/2006] out of print/100+ used

stepdaughter Nancy Angell Stableford [1927-96]

son boatbuilder Joel White [1930-97]
wrote "Wood, Water & Light: Classic Wooden Boats" [Norton, 1988] with photographs by Benjamin Mendlowitz
daughter-in-law Allene White
granddaughter Martha Allen-White
grandson John White
grandson Steven White now runs Brooklin Boatyard in Maine
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InXaMmdR5VU [3:53]

co-author & co-worker James Thurber [1894-1961]

L i n k s
E.B. White entry at Wikipedia
browse E.B. White Store at Amazon
E.B. White credits [1954-2006] at Internet Movie Database

here on the E.B. White [1899-1985] Page at Spirit of America Bookstore

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