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Thread: E.B.White: Once More To the Lake

  1. #1
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    United States E.B.White: Once More To the Lake

    Believe it or not, I haven't read Charlotte's Web yet, but I did just finish Once More To the Lake, and it is indeed a beautiful book. I particularly liked "A Slight Sound at Evening", and in this essay he expresses his admiration for Henry David Thoreau and his book, Walden. Thoreau is also one of my favorite writers, and his Walden was especially fascinating-I don't recall ever acquiring so much pleasure and fullness of spirit in reading one single book. And you can detect the slight similarities between his work and White's-at least there is the same love and intoxication in Nature and in White's case, animals especially. But White's work also has that slight touch of humor-not much, but just enough to add a stroke of lightness to the beauty of the words and descriptions.

  2. #2

    Default Re: E.B.White: Once More To the Lake

    would it be fair to say: I have never read E B White's novels because there are too many books out there by great writers that I haven't time to read? No. That would break down right away, from the get-go. It would just be begging the question: How do you define "great writer"?

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    Default Re: E.B.White: Once More To the Lake

    jesuisravi: that is actually a really good question, and indeed one that deserves further discussion. I remember my teacher once saying that most great works reflect the times in which it was produced, however they always have something that go beyond the boundaries of space and time-and that is what makes them great. I believe that there is a certain degree of truth in these words. There is, of course a lot of controversy about being famous and being "great". Are famous writers always great? And are great writers always famous?
    Anyway, the definition of a "great writer" can have no absolute and correct answer. Now, how would you define the phrase?


  4. #4

    Default Re: E.B.White: Once More To the Lake

    Quote Originally Posted by ArthurDestiney View Post
    jesuisravi: that is actually a really good question, and indeed one that deserves further discussion. I remember my teacher once saying that most great works reflect the times in which it was produced, however they always have something that go beyond the boundaries of space and time-and that is what makes them great. I believe that there is a certain degree of truth in these words. There is, of course a lot of controversy about being famous and being "great". Are famous writers always great? And are great writers always famous?
    Anyway, the definition of a "great writer" can have no absolute and correct answer. Now, how would you define the phrase?

    Great writer? I would say that this is a very slippery notion. You couldn't use it without reference to a particular reader. I.e., what is great for me, may not be for you. I may have gotten more out of Raymond Chandler that I did from Tolstoi--by gotten more I mean more of that attention entrainment that we go to literature for. In other words, more "getting out of myself". You, however, may have had exactly the reverse of my experience: Chandler bored you, Tolstoi enthralled.

    So, if someone were to ask me which of the two was greater--and if I were to speak my heart rather than give a teacher's-pet answer--I would say, loud and clear, Ray Chandler! You, looking down your nose probably, would beg to disagree.

    It just so happens that I like both these guys, just for the record, but if I had to chose one to the exclusion of the other, I'd go with Tolstoi: A square inch of Anna has more meat on her than a square foot of "The Big Sleep".

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