> Author Index > W - Authors > E. B. White Quotes

E. B. White Quotes


An American essayist, columnist, poet and editor. He is best known today for his work in a writers' guide, The Elements of Style, and for three children's books Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan generally regarded as classics.
(1899 - 1985)

Pages: 12345Next

A good farmer is nothing more nor less than a handy man with a sense of humus.
 

A man who publishes his letters becomes a nudist - nothing shields him from the world's gaze except his bare skin. A writer, writing away, can always fix things up to make himself more presentable, but a man who has written a letter is stuck with it for all time.
See quote detail

A poet dares to be just so clear and no clearer; he approaches lucid ground warily, like a mariner who is determined not to scrape his bottom on anything solid. A poet's pleasure is to withhold a little of his meaning, to intensify by mystification. He unzips the veil from beauty, but does not remove it. A poet utterly clear is a trifle glaring.
[Poets And Poetry]
 

A writer is like a bean plant - he has his little day, and then gets stringy.
 

Advertisers are the interpreters of our dreams - Joseph interpreting for Pharaoh. Like the movies, they infect the routine futility of our days with purposeful adventure. Their weapons are our weaknesses: fear, ambition, illness, pride, selfishness, desire, ignorance. And these weapons must be kept as bright as a sword.
See quote detail

Advice to young writers who want to get ahead without any annoying delays: don't write about Man, write about a man.
[Writers And Writing]
 

All poets who, when reading from their own works, experience a choked feeling, are major. For that matter, all poets who read from their own works are major, whether they choke or not.
See quote detail

All we need is a meteorologist who has once been soaked to the skin without ill effect. No one can write knowingly of the weather who walks bent over on wet days.
 

Americans are willing to go to enormous trouble and expense defending their principles with arms, very little trouble and expense advocating them with words. Temperamentally we are ready to die for certain principles (or, in the case of overripe adults, send youngsters to die), but we show little inclination to advertise the reasons for dying.
See quote detail

An unhatched egg is to me the greatest challenge in life.
See quote detail

Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.
[Humor]
 

As long as there is one upright man, as long as their is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the one thing left to us in a bad time.
See quote detail

Be obscure clearly.
 

Children are demanding. They are the most attentive, curious, eager, observant, sensitive, quick, and generally congenial readers on earth. They accept, almost without question, anything you present them with, as long as it is presented honestly, fearlessly, and clearly.
See quote detail

Children are game for anything. I throw them hard words, and they backhand them over the net. They love words that give them a hard time, provided they are in a context that absorbs their attention.
See quote detail

Commas in The New Yorker fall with the precision of knives in a circus act, outlining the victim.
 

Commuter - One who spends his life in riding to and from his wife; a man who shaves and takes a train, and then rides back to shave again.
 

Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness, natives give it solidity and continuity, but the settlers give it passion.
 

Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time.
[Democracy]
 

English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education - sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street.
 


Pages: 12345Next