July 11, 2017
“You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte, “That in itself is a tremendous thing.”
It is rare to find a writer whose impact on both children and adults is so pronounced but E.B. White – who was born on July 11, 1899 – was such a writer.
For a writer there is no more monumental handbook than “Elements of Style.” It’s dog-eared pages a testament to the author’s quest to use punctuation and grammar correctly. The book was first published in 1918 by William Strunk, Jr. It was in 1959 when it was revised and enlarged by White and now bore both contributors names. When a question arises as to ‘how’ to do something most writer’s will say, colloquially, ‘what does Strunk and White say?’
White spent his life as a writer, the bulk of that on staff with The New Yorker magazine. It was when he turned to the writing of children’s literature and, especially with the publication of Charlotte’s Web, that he became a household name.
According to the infallible Wikipedia:
“White’s editor Ursula Nordstrom said that one day, in 1952, E. B. White handed her a new manuscript, the only version of Charlotte’s Web then in existence, which she read soon after and enjoyed. Charlotte’s Web was published three years after White began writing it.”
The book is one of the most widely read books by elementary aged children. Somewhere in a dusty box in my parent’s basement is a copy of this wonderful book. A book which I read over and over again, falling in love with a pig named Wilbur and his friend, the spider Charlotte.
Also from Wikipedia:
“Written in White’s dry, low-key manner, Charlotte’s Web is considered a classic of children’s literature, enjoyable to adults as well as children. The description of the experience of swinging on a rope swing at the farm is an often cited example of rhythm in writing, as the pace of the sentences reflects the motion of the swing. In 2000, Publishers Weekly listed the book as the best-selling children’s paperback of all time.”
For more about E.B. White’s life and writing, you can click here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._B._White
To read a few highlighted quotes from Charlotte’s Web – including the one in the subject line – click here: https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/987048-charlotte-s-web