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

Just to live in the country is a full-time job. You don't have to do anything. The idle pursuit of making a living is pushed to one side, where it belongs, in favor of living itself, a task of such immediacy, variety, beauty, and excitement that one is powerless to resist its wild embrace.

New York is part of the natural world. I love the city, I love the country, and for the same reasons. The city is part of the country. When I had an apartment on East Forty-Eighth Street, my backyard during the migratory season yielded more birds than I ever saw in Maine.

People are, if anything, more touchy about being thought silly than they are about being thought unjust.

Stuart rose from the ditch, climbed into his car, and started up the road that led toward the north...As he peeked ahead into the great land that stretched before him, the way seemed long. But the sky was bright, and he somehow felt he was headed in the right direction.

The future, wave or no wave, seems to me no unified dream but a mince pie, long in the baking, never quite done.

The trend toward the ownership of land by fewer and fewer individuals is, it seems to me, a disastrous thing. For when too large a proportion of the populace is supporting itself by the indirections of trade and business and commerce and art and the million schemes of men in cities, then the complexity of society is likely to become so great as to destroy its equilibrium, and it will always be out of balance in some way. But if a considerable portion of the people are occupied wholly or partially in labors that directly supply them with many things that they want, or think they want, whether it be a sweet pea or a sour pickle, then the public poise will be a good deal harder to upset.

Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. Of these three trembling cities the greatest is the last--the city of final destination, the city that is a goal. It is this third city that accounts for New York's high-strung disposition, its poetical deportment, its dedication to the arts, and its incomparable achievements. Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion.

We grow tyrannical fighting tyranny. . . . The most alarming spectacle today is not the spectacle of the atomic bomb in an unfederated world, it is the spectacle of the Americans beginning to accept the device of loyalty oaths and witch hunts, beginning to call anybody they don't like a Communist.

When your stomach is empty and your mind is full, it?s always hard to sleep.

Your essays spoke of beauty, of love, of light and darkness, of joy and sorrow, and of the goodness of life. They were wonderful compositions. I have seldom read any that have touched me more. To thank you and your teacher Mrs. Ellis, I am sending you what I think is one of the most beautiful and miraculous things in the world?an egg. I have a goose named Felicity and she lays about forty eggs every spring. It takes her almost three months to accomplish this. Each egg is a perfect thing. I am mailing you one of Felicity's eggs. The insides have been removed?blown out?so the egg should last forever. I hope you will enjoy seeing this great egg and loving it. Thank you for sending me your essays about being somebody. I was pleased that so many of you felt the beauty and goodness of the world. If we feel that when we are young, then there is great hope for us when we grow older.

Life is always a rich and steady time when you are waiting for something to happen or to hatch.

New York is the concentrate of art and commerce and sport and religion and entertainment and finance, bringing to a single compact arena the gladiator, the evangelist, the promoter, the actor, the trader and the merchant. No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.

Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.

Summertime, oh, summertime, pattern of life indelible, the fade-proof lake, the woods unshatterable, the pasture with the sweet fern and the juniper forever and ever . . . the cottages with their innocent and tranquil design, their tiny docks with the flagpole and the American flag floating against the white clouds in the blue sky, the little paths over the roots of the trees leading from camp to camp. This was the American family at play, escaping the city heat.

The grave in the woods is unmarked, but Fred can direct the mourner to it unerringly and with immense good will, and I know he and I shall often revisit it, singly and together, in seasons of reflection and despair, on flagless memorial days of our own choosing.

The United States, almost alone today, offers the liberties and the privileges and the tools of freedom. In this land the citizens are still invited to write their plays and books, to paint their pictures, to meet for discussion, to dissent as well as to agree, to mount soapboxes in the public square, to enjoy education in all subjects without censorship, to hold court and judge one another, to compose music, to talk politics with their neighbors without wondering whether the secret police are listening, to exchange ideas as well as goods, to kid the government when it needs kidding, and to read real news of real events instead of phony news manufactured by a paid agent of the state. This is a fact and should give every person pause.

This is the dream we had, asleep in our chair, thinking of Christmas in the lands of fir tree and pine, Christmas in lands of palm tree and vine, and of how the one great sky does for all places and all people. After the third great war was over (this was a curious dream), there was no more than a handful of people left alive, and the earth was in ruins and the ruins were horrible to behold. The people, the survivors, decided to meet to talk over their problem and to make a lasting peace, which is the customary thing to make after a long and exhausting war. There were eighty-three countries, and each country sent a delegate to the convention. One English-man came, one Peruvian, one Ethiopian, one Frenchman, one Japanese, and so on, until every country was represented.

We must always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.

Where I would like to discover facts, I find fancy. Where I would like to learn what I did, I learn only what I was thinking. They are loaded with opinion, moral thoughts, quick evaluations, youthful hopes and cares and sorrows. Occasionally they manage to report something in exquisite honesty and accuracy. That is why I have refrained from burning them.

Your whole duty as a writer is to please and satisfy yourself, and the true writer always plays to an audience of one.

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

New York is to the nation what the white church spire is to the village - the visible symbol of aspiration and faith, the white plume saying the way is up.

Reading is the work of the alert mind, is demanding, and under ideal conditions produces finally a sort of ecstasy.

Surely the Board knows what democracy is. It is the line that forms on the right. It is the don?t in don?t shove. It is the hole in the stuffed shirt through which the sawdust slowly trickles; it is the dent in the high hat. Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half the people

The greatest dangers to liberty, said Mr. Brandeis, lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.

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