By G. Atkins
This is often the 1st book-length serious research of E.B. White, the yankee essayist and writer of Stuart Little, Charlotte's net, The Trumpet of the Swan . G. Douglas Atkins makes a speciality of White and the writing existence, supplying specified readings of the key essays and revealing White's strong point as an essayist.
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Extra resources for E. B. White: The Essayist as First-Class Writer
B. WHITE sometimes represented as an essay, although it is, instead, a satire on, in part, the materialistic and insouciant “social engineer”-speaker who advocates cannibalism to relieve Ireland’s severe economic woes. If, furthermore, the voice we hear in an essay is, although the author’s own, unlikable, condescending, perhaps rude and uninviting—as I find Thoreau to be in “Walking”—the essay will not succeed. In essays, character matters, and it is the character of the speaker as she or he appears on the page that often largely determines effectiveness.
69 Readers as different as Malcolm Cowley and the bitter, influential Anne Carroll Moore, of the New York Public Library, “doyenne of the children’s book world,”70 have found this ending “inconclusive,” since it leaves readers unsure whether Stuart ever finds Margalo or gets back home. White, though, said that that was just his point. In the final analysis, perhaps, Ames’ Crossing is the true answer to Stuart’s dreams. He may not deserve Harriet, whether or not he deserves Margalo, blind as he is to reality, committed as he is—in another dream—to something outside his species.
COMING INTO WHITE COUNTRY 39 E. B. White as Story-Teller It is, of course, story that occupies center stage in White’s first work of extended fiction. In his best essays (“Death of a Pig,” “Bedfellows,” and “The Ring of Time,” to name but three of the most revered), story also plays a large, although not necessarily central, role. In this regard, White differs from a great many of his fellow workers in the essay form, although he is not unique. White, simply, is a literary artist, capable of bringing various literary, fictional, and poetic devices, strategies, and techniques to bear on his observations of real men and women—and often other animals as well—their meanness and their capacity for goodness.
E. B. White: The Essayist as First-Class Writer by G. Atkins