Letters: Everyday Literature

March 28, 2010

Reading The Letters of E. B. White

“In a letter, speech becomes everyday literature.”
     — Thomas Moore, Soul Mates

My oldest sister and I still correspond regularly by mail.  I look forward to her newsy letters in my mailbox.  I prefer letters to telephone calls. 

If you feel nostalgic for letters, I recommend Letters of E. B. White Revised Edition, edited by Dorothy Lobrano Guth and Martha White, 2006.  E. B. White was a master letter writer.  He is down to earth, but wry and funny.  He says of himself, “I discovered a long time ago that writing of the small things of the day, the trivial matters of the heart, the inconsequential but near things of this living, was the only kind of creative work which I could accomplish with any sincerity or grace.  As a reporter, I was a flop, because I always came back laden not with facts about the case, but with a mind full of the little difficulties and amusements I had encountered in my travels.”

White wrote for the New Yorker, but he was a country boy at heart.  I knew of him as the author or three delightful children’s books, Stuart Little, The Trumpet of the Swan, and Charlotte’s Web. 

Reading White’s letters goes a long way toward satisfying my desire for snail mail.  His are as good, or better, than letters from my real family!

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3 Responses to “Letters: Everyday Literature”

  1. Shirley Mord Says:

    Letter writing is a lost art, my grandmother had beautiful handwriting and I do miss getting letters in the mail.


  2. I have this book upon my shelf waiting to be read. I’m currently reading the letters of C.S. Lewis.

  3. sandy bessingpas Says:

    A letter will be on its way tomorrow!!!I too look foreward to your letters in my mailbox-after a day at work there’s nothing I like more than to pour a glass of wine and read a letter-one thing I like about letters is that you can enjoy them over and over again-sometimes I tuck one away in a special book, and when I come across it later, it brings joy a second time.


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