E.B White

E B White is known in the publishing world as one of the best writers, editors, and/or grammarians of the twentieth century. His children’s book Charlotte’s Web won the Newbury Honor medal in 1953. In 2012 the School Library Journal sponsored a survey of readers, which identified Charlotte’s Web as the best children’s novel for readers 6-12 years old. The librarian who conducted it said, ‘It is impossible to conduct a poll of this sort and expect {White’s novel} to be anywhere but #1.

In 1978, White won a special Pulitzer Prize citing “his letters, essays and the full body of his work”.[19] He also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963 and honorary memberships in a variety of literary societies throughout the United States. The 1973 Oscar-nominated Canadian animated short The Family That Dwelt Apart is narrated by White and is based on his short story of the same name.

 In 1959, White edited and updated The Elements of Style. This handbook of grammatical and stylistic guidance for writers of American English was first written and published in 1918 by William Strunk Jr., one of White’s professors at Cornell. White’s reworking of the book was extremely well received, and later editions followed in 1972, 1979, and 1999. Maira Kalman illustrated an edition in 2005. That same year, a New York composer named Nico Muhly premiered a short opera based on the book. The volume is a standard tool for students and writers and remains required reading in many composition classes. The complete history of The Elements of Style is detailed in Mark Garvey’s Stylized: A Slightly Obsessive History of Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style.

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