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E. B. White: The Essayist as First-Class Writer by G. Atkins

By G. Atkins

This is often the 1st book-length severe research of E.B. White, the yankee essayist and writer of Stuart Little, Charlotte's internet, The Trumpet of the Swan . G. Douglas Atkins specializes in White and the writing existence, providing distinct readings of the most important essays and revealing White's uniqueness as an essayist.

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Sample text

White and the Writing Life Affirming Life’s Newness and Joy Much has been written about the life of the mind. I find the phrase itself markedly dreamy. The mind of the writer does indeed do something before it dies, and so does its owner, but I would be hard put to call it living. It should surprise no one that the life of the writer—such as it is—is colorless to the point of sensory deprivation. Many writers do little else but sit in small rooms recalling the real world. This explains why so many books describe the author’s childhood.

64 Still, he perseveres, making preparations in case Harriet shows up the next evening and imagining, anxiously, all the while “every detail” of their meeting: With his eyes shut he seemed to see the whole occasion plainly—how she would look when she came down the path to the water, how calm and peaceful the river was going to be in the twilight, how graceful the canoe would seem, drawn up on the shore. In imagination he lived every minute of their evening together. They would paddle to a large water-lily pad upstream, and he would invite Harriet to step out on the pad and sit awhile.

They would paddle to a large water-lily pad upstream, and he would invite Harriet to step out on the pad and sit awhile. Stuart planned to wear his swimming trunks under his clothes so that he could dive off the lily pad into the cool stream. 65 Stuart’s “imaginings”—and his carefully crafted plans—are clearly meant to relate to his dream of Margalo, a matter of difference and distinction hardly intended for a juvenile audience. Stuart spends the next day in further preparation, nervous, fidgeting, and worrying about rain.

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