Thursday, July 24, 2008

Summer is flying by - - -

--- and I am slowly getting caught up with teaching and writing, but somehow not getting to my blog enough. Here's an essay by Jill Lepore about children's libraries from The New Yorker that I wanted to blog recently and it's taken me awhile to do it, though my good friend Paula got her thoughts out promptly!

What struck me was the EB White connection. Somehow I was never much of a fan of EB White's children's books. Charlotte's Web made me angry. Why was the girl Fern so unconcerned? Much better - more poignant and poetic, I thought, was White's essay "Death of a Pig." It turns out to be easy to find references to this essay online. Here's an excerpt:
I spent several days and nights in mid-September with an ailing pig and I feel driven to account for this stretch of time, more particularly since the pig died at last, and I lived, and things might easily have gone the other way round and none left to do the accounting. Even now, so close to the event, I cannot recall the hours sharply and am not ready to say whether death came on the third night or the fourth night. This uncertainty afflicts me with a sense of personal deterioration; if I were in decent health I would know how many nights I had sat up with a pig.
This excerpt was helpfully posted for English 5730, a class taught by Dr. Richard Nordquist at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia. Nordquist also provides short passages with attention to diction and metaphors.

In addition, there's some nice biographical material "Not Bad" on Nordquist's Grammar Blog.
And here, interestingly, is Nick Bergus's blog called "Death of a Pig" named for the essay - and a post on the 60th anniversary of the essay. Bergus provides a full-text link to White's essay that happens to go to The Atlantic magazine and its recent issue on ideas, which our class in "Writing with Style" just happens to be discussing today. So - small world and 6 degrees of separation.

And that reminds me of one of my favorite White pieces, his poem "I paint what I see" from The New Yorker, which I think I must have blogged on in the past at some point. Which again brings me full circle.

So, apologies for a skimpy post, but now, on my way home!


Post a Comment

<< Home