E. B. White, fully Elwyn Brooks White

E. B.
White, fully Elwyn Brooks White
1899
1985

American Humorist,Essayist, Book Author including Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little

Author Quotes

It was a delicious meal -- skim milk, wheat middlings, leftover pancakes, half a doughnut, the rind of a summer squash, two pieces of stale toast, a third of a gingersnap, a fish tail, one orange peel, several noodles from a noodle soup, the scum off a cup of cocoa, an ancient jelly roll, a strip of paper from the lining of the garbage pail, and a spoonful of raspberry jello.

Much of life is insupportable and that no individual play can have a happy ending.

Once you begin watching spiders, you haven't time for much else.

Something that he wants to do. And when I answer his peremptory scratch at the door and hold the door open for him to walk through, he stops in the middle and lights a cigarette, just to hold me up.

The critic leaves at curtain fall to find, in starting to review it, he scarcely saw the play at all for starting to review it.

The so-called science of poll-taking is not a science at all but mere necromancy. People are unpredictable by nature, and although you can take a nation's pulse, you can't be sure that the nation hasn't just run up a flight of stairs, and although you can take a nation's blood pressure, you can't be sure that if you came back in twenty minutes you'd get the same reading. This is a damn fine thing.

There is nothing harder to estimate than a writer's time, nothing harder to keep track of. There are moments?moments of sustained creation?when his time is fairly valuable; and there are hours and hours when a writer's time isn't worth the paper he is not writing anything on.

Trust me, Wilbur. People are very gullible. They'll believe anything they see in print.

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.

You have been my friend, replied Charlotte. That in itself is a tremendous thing...after all, what's a life anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die...By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.

It was the best place to be, thought Wilbur, this warm delicious cellar, with the garrulous geese, the changing seasons, the heat of the sun, the passage of swallows, the nearness of rats, the sameness of sheep, the love of spiders, the smell of manure, and the glory of everything.

Muddiness is not merely a disturber of prose, it is also a destroyer of life, of hope: death on the highway caused by a badly worded road sign, heartbreak among lovers caused by a misplaced phrase in a well-intentioned letter, anguish of a traveler expecting to be met at a railroad station and not being met because of a slipshod telegram. Think of the tragedies that are rooted in ambiguity, and be clear! When you say something, make sure you have said it. The chances of your having said it are only fair.

One solution... for the house of the future is to have a place called a ?dirty room.? This would be equipped with appliances for all cleaning problems, and into it would be dumped everything dirty. But in most American homes the way to have a dirty room is to have a small boy; that?s the way we worked it for a number of happy years.

Sometimes a writer, like an acrobat, must try a trick that is too much for him.

The delegate from Patagonia spoke up. 'I fear that the wild flag, one for all, will prove an unpopular idea.' 'It will, undoubtedly,' sighed the Chinese delegate. 'But now that there are only a couple of hundred people on earth, even the word "unpopular" loses most of its meaning. At this juncture we might conceivably act in a sensible, rather than a popular, manner.' And he produced eighty-two more shoeboxes and handed a wild flag to each delegate, bowing ceremoniously. Next day the convention broke up and the delegates returned to their homes, marveling at what they had accomplished in so short a time. And that is the end of our dream.

The subtlest change in New York is something people don?t speak much about but that is in everyone?s mind. The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible. A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions. The intimation of mortality is part of New York now: in the sound of jets overhead, in the black headlines of the latest edition.

There is nothing so expensive, really, as a big, well-developed, full-bodied preconception.

Very fine law, said Stuart. When I am Chairman, anybody who is mean to anybody else is going to catch it.

When we slid the body into the grave, we both were shaken to the core. The loss we felt was not the loss of ham but the loss of pig.

You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.

It?s not often a true friend comes around.

Necessity first mothered invention. Now invention has little ones of her own, and they look just like grandma.

Only a person who is congenitally self-centered has the effrontery and the stamina to write essays.

Sometimes in writing of myself... I have occasionally had the exquisite thrill of putting my finger on a little capsule of truth, and heard it give the faint squeak of mortality under my pressure, an antic sound.

The essayist . . . can pull on any sort of shirt, be any sort of person, according to his mood or his subject matter - philosopher, scold, jester, raconteur, confidant, pundit, devil's advocate, enthusiast.

Author Picture
First Name
E. B.
Last Name
White, fully Elwyn Brooks White
Birth Date
1899
Death Date
1985
Bio

American Humorist,Essayist, Book Author including Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little