One Man's Meat / Edition 13 available in Paperback
In print for fifty-five years, One Man's Meat continues to delight readers with E.B. White's witty, succinct observations on daily life at a Maine saltwater farm.
Too personal for an almanac, too sophisticated for a domestic history, and too funny and self-doubting for a literary journal, One Man's Meat can best be described as a primer of a countryman's lessons a timeless recounting of experience that will never go out of style.
|Publisher:||Tilbury House Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
E.B. White, the author of twenty books of prose and poetry, was awarded the 1970 Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for his children's books, Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web. This award is now given every three years "to an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have, over a period of years, make a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children." The year 1970 also marked the publication of Mr. White's third book for children, The Trumpet of the Swan, honored by The International Board on Books for Young People as an outstanding example of literature with international importance. In 1973, it received the Sequoyah Award (Oklahoma) and the William Allen White Award (Kansas), voted by the school children of those states as their "favorite book" of the year.
Born in Mount Vernon, New York, Mr. White attended public schools there. He was graduated from Cornell University in 1921, worked in New York for a year, then traveled about. After five or six years of trying many sorts of jobs, he joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine, then in its infancy. The connection proved a happy one and resulted in a steady output of satirical sketches, poems, essays, and editorials. His essays have also appeared in Harper's Magazine, and his books include One Man's Meat, The Second Tree from the Corner, Letters of E.B. White, The Essays of E.B. White and Poems and Sketches of E.B. White. In 1938 Mr. White moved to the country. On his farm in Maine he kept animals, and some of these creatures got into his stories and books. Mr. White said he found writing difficult and bad for one's disposition, but he kept at it. He began Stuart Little in the hope of amusing a six-year-old niece of his, but before he finished it, she had grown up.
For his total contribution to American letters, Mr. White was awarded the 1971 National Medal for Literature. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy named Mr. White as one of thirty-one Americans to receive the Presidential Medal for Freedom. Mr. White also received the National Institute of Arts and Letters' Gold Medal for Essays and Criticism, and in 1973 the members of the Institute elected him to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a society of fifty members. He also received honorary degrees from seven colleges and universities. Mr. White died on October 1, 1985.
The essays of E. B. White in his delightful collection, One Man's Meat, represent a style of writing that is very welcoming to the reader. I found myself laughing out loud at his subtle humor and, while some in our Thursday night book group found the book somewhat superficial, I found a connection that suggested deeper thoughts. Written in the late 30's and early 40s during the approach of and beginning of World War II, White's essays comment on the world around him and chronicle his life on a farm in Maine as he gradually comes to grips with country living. In many instances they seem very contemporary in spite of having been written more than fifty years ago. A long time contributor to The New Yorker, one recognizes the "New Yorker style" in White's writing. One of our group found a resemblance to Joseph Mitchell's Up in the Old Hotel which we had read several years ago. Certainly this was a great read with my enjoyment augmented by both the down to earth meditations and wonderful style.
One Man¿s Meat is a collection of essays written by White in the late 1930s and early 1940s. White interjects world politics, children¿s literature and farming in to this eclectic series of essays that have an eternal quality to them. White¿s ability to blend several topics into one coherent essay is humbling to this writer. I was very fascinated by the way White intertwined the completely mundane with the overwhelming world, here is just one example:¿While the old wars rage and the new ones hang like hawks above the world, we, the unholy innocents, study the bulb catalogue and order one dozen paper-white Grandiflora Narcissus (60 cents) to be grown in a bowl of pebbles. To the list my wife made out I have added one large root of bleeding heart to remind us daily of wounded soldiers and tortured Jews.¿ (14)Let¿s look at catalogues, oh by the way there is this awful thing going on and you should think about that! He used this technique successfully, in my opinion, throughout the text. Of everything I read during this period, the craft of this text impressed me the most (which surprised me because I did not like Charlotte or Stuart). In places it appeared stream of consciousness, while in others crisp journalistic prose. In no situation did he seem to not be in control of the writing.White¿s original/intended audience likely didn¿t read his work as critically, or perhaps as writers would. White offers his reader a lot of carrots. A ¿regular¿ reader of his work in Harpers may come to expect a level of politics in his essays¿because, at least at this point in his writing, it is present more often than not. White had to have been aware of that.In my opinion, White is a consummate writer. It appears, over the distance of sixty years, that he was concerned about his audience. He is both eloquent and economic in his use of the language. He has shown amazing discipline, craft-wise. He didn¿t send me searching for obscure references, I wasn¿t lost in a maze of footnotes, reading dictionary in hand, working to decipher meaning, there were precious few dead-ends in the text, and I wasn¿t left asking why. Occasionally, I checked a World War II timeline ¿ to refresh my memory as to the order of events (I remember being surprised at how early he was writing about the Holocaust in an American publication)¿but it was strictly for my own edification¿such clarity was not necessary for the content of any specific essay. One can see the future writer of children¿s books in many of the essays. His use of vivid imagery is, to me, amazing ¿ who couldn¿t see those peeps/chicks huddled up in overcoats? Or a crazed over-stimulated dog? Or even a trailer park in the Keys? He didn¿t show us anything ¿ he immersed us in it: the sights, smells, feels and the emotional impact of each situation. And yet, he rarely loses the context of the larger world around him¿this is the approach most successful writers of juvenile literature write. I think we lose something if we don¿t read for the beauty in a piece¿what is meaning without beauty, even if that beauty is terrible (as Yeats suggests). When the artistry is completely removed we end up with Duchamp¿s Fountain (1917) and not Bernini¿s Trevi Fountain (1629) in Rome. Over time bold political statements fade away and all that remains is the beauty. As to ¿One Man¿s Meat¿, what White is saying is there is no such thing no matter how far one works to remove themselves from the whole ¿ we are all in this together. He comes back to this over and over again in some very subtle ways, in hunting, in school trips, in helping his neighbor with the sick ewe, in taking the government subsidy (and thus connecting himself to a larger structure). Even in the beginning with the $450 turkey ¿ he is acknowledging that we are interdependent. We depend on our community as individuals ¿ and nations must depend on a world community. In ¿The Practical Farmer¿ he acknowledges that his taste in meat (so to speak) may not be for everyon