Writings from the New Yorker: 1925-1976

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9780060165178: Writings from the New Yorker: 1925-1976

A delightful, witty, spirited collection of short pieces and essays by the inimitable E. B. White.

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Review:

Three years after E. B. White's death, Rebecca Dale discovered a cache of his New Yorker writings that had yet to be collected. There's certainly nothing mediocre about these 161 pieces, which range from nature vignettes (a New York City sparrow extols urban life) to musings on language, business, and liberty. White's 1953 fantasia of visiting Thoreau's Walden Pond with Joseph McCarthy is peerless. "Wait a minute!" the senator realizes. "This man was Communist-inspired. That accounts for his sour attitude about housing--" The satire is strong, but so is the celebration. A short piece on a skating fest ends: "Ice is an odd substance to have at last freed the body in its persistent attempt to catch up with the spirit." And speaking of which, in "Fred On Space" White asks his dead dachshund how he feels about the first dog launched by the Russians. Fred is far from impressed: "The excuse you men give is that you must continually add to the store of human knowledge--a store that already resembles a supermarket and is beginning to hypnotize the customers."

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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