The Story of Charlotte's Web: E. B. White's Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic

The Story of Charlotte's Web: E. B. White's Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic

by Michael Sims

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While composing what would become his most enduring and popular book, E. B. White obeyed that oft-repeated maxim: "Write what you know." Helpless pigs, silly geese, clever spiders, greedy rats-White knew all of these characters in the barns and stables where he spent his favorite hours as a child and adult. Painfully shy, "this boy," White once wrote of himself, "felt for animals a kinship he never felt for people." It's all the more impressive, therefore, how many people have felt a kinship with E. B. White.

Michael Sims chronicles White's animal-rich childhood, his writing about urban nature for the New Yorker, his scientific research into how spiders spin webs and lay eggs, his friendship with his legendary editor, Ursula Nordstrom, the composition and publication of his masterpiece, and his ongoing quest to recapture an enchanted childhood.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802778178
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication date: 06/07/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 485,337
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Michael Sims is the author of the acclaimed Apollo's Fire: A Day on Earth in Nature and Imagination, Adam's Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form, and editor of the recent Dracula's Guest: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Vampire Stories and The Penguin Book of Gaslight Crime He lives in western Pennsylvania.
Michael Sims's six acclaimed non-fiction books include The Adventures of Henry Thoreau, The Story of Charlotte's Web, and Adam's Navel, and he edits the Connoisseur's Collection anthology series, which includes Dracula's Guest, The Dead Witness, The Phantom Coach, and the forthcoming Frankenstein Dreams. His writing has appeared in New Statesman, New York Times, Washington Post, and many other periodicals. He appears often on NPR, BBC, and other networks. He lives in Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Translating Yourself 1

Part I Elwyn

Chapter 1 Enchanted 9

Chapter 2 Fear 19

Chapter 3 Trustworthy 33

Chapter 4 A Writing Fool 42

Chapter 5 Liebesträum 55

Part II Andy

Chapter 6 Olympus 69

Chapter 7 Interview with a Sparrow 86

Chapter 8 Crazy 96

Chapter 9 As Spiders Do 106

Part III Charlotte

Chapter 10 Dream Farm 127

Chapter 11 The Mouse of Thought 143

Chapter 12 Foreknowledge 157

Chapter 13 Zuckerman's Barn 169

Chapter 14 Spinningwork 175

Chapter 15 Paean 189

Chapter 16 Some Book 208

Chapter 17 Completion 226

Coda: After Charlotte 236

Acknowledgments 245

Abbreviations for Frequent Sources 249

Notes 251

Selected Bibliography and Further Reading 289

Index 297

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