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

Too many things on my mind, said Wilbur. Well, said the goose, that's not my trouble. I have nothing at all on my mind, but I've too many things under my behind.

When I get sick of what men do, I have only to walk a few steps in another direction to see what spiders do. Or what the weather does. This sustains me very well indeed.

Writing is both mask and unveiling.

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

Most people believe almost anything they see in print.

Once in everyone's life there is apt to be a period when he is fully awake, instead of half asleep. I think of those five years in Maine as the time when this happened to me ? I was suddenly seeing, feeling, and listening as a child sees, feels, and listens. It was one of those rare interludes that can never be repeated, a time of enchantment. I am fortunate indeed to have had the chance to get some of it down on paper.

Some of the published news was distorted, but distortion is inherent in partisan journalism, the same as it is in political rallies.

The crickets sang in the grasses. They sang the song of summer's ending, a sad monotonous song. Summer is over and gone, over and gone, over and gone. Summer is dying, dying. A little maple tree heard the cricket song and turned bright red with anxiety.

The sea answers all questions, and always in the same way; for when you read in the papers the interminable discussions and the bickering and the prognostications and the turmoil, the disagreements and the fateful decisions and agreements and the plans and the programs and the threats and the counter threats, then you close your eyes and the sea dispatches one more big roller in the unbroken line since the beginning of the world and it combs and breaks and returns foaming and saying: So soon?

There is another sort of day which needs celebrating in song -- the day of days when spring at last holds up her face to be kissed, deliberate and unabashed. On that day no wind blows either in the hills or in the mind.

Trexler knew what he wanted, and what, in general, all men wanted; and he was glad, in a way, that it was both inexpressible and unattainable, and that it wasn't a wing. He was satisfied to remember that it was deep, formless, enduring and impossible of fulfillment, and that it made men sick, and that when you sauntered along Third Avenue and looked through the doorways into the dim saloons, you could sometimes pick out from the unregenerate ranks the ones who had not forgotten, gazing steadily into the bottoms of their glasses on the long chance that they could get another little peek at it. Trexler found himself renewed by the remembrance that what he wanted was at once great and microscopic, and that although it borrowed from the nature of large deeds and of youthful love and of old songs and early intimations, it was not any one of these things, and that it had not been isolated or pinned down, and that a man who attempted to define it in the privacy of a doctor's office would fall flat on his face.

When I was a child people simply looked about them and were moderately happy; today they peer beyond the seven seas, bury themselves waist deep in tidings, and by and large what they see and hear makes them unutterably sad.

You have been my friend ? That in itself is a tremendous thing.

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.

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