REVIEW POTPOURRI: E. B. White & A Star is Born

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Scott Elledge

Scott Elledge

Scott Elledge’s 1984 E. B. White: A Biography, was published when White was still living (he died in 1985) and is well worth dipping into for those, like myself, intrigued by the man who contributed to the success of the New Yorker magazine, wrote unsurpassed prose and raised ducks and geese on his Brooklin, Maine, farm.

E. B. White

The book mentions White supervising renovations on the farmhouse, consisting of 12 rooms, which he and his wife Katherine purchased for $11,000 in 1933 and included a barn and other outbuildings, along with 40 acres of land that ran down to Allen Cove, not far from Blue Hill:

“On a day like this it is inconceivable we should live anywhere but here. The spring began yesterday afternoon: I was working down by the cow shed in the pasture (the turkey house I mean) and suddenly the frogs began. The wind dropped, the sun concentrated on my back; from the woods came a thrusts pure composition; and into the cove sailed a vessel and came to rest in the calm illuminated evening. Today was a continuation, with warmth, new green, NW breeze bluing the bay, and in the afternoon a sun shower and rainbow.”

The book recounts much information about his marriage to Katherine for over 40 years and his friendships with the irascible founder/editor of the New Yorker, Harold Ross, and the legendary James Thurber. It goes into absorbing detail on the process by which his most famous book, Charlotte’s Web, came into being between 1949 and its publication in 1952.

Judy Garland

A Star is Born

I have not seen the 1954 film classic A Star Is Born since I was a kid but recently listened to the CD transfer of the soundtrack (Columbia/Sony CK 65965) with the magnificent songs of Ira Gershwin and Harold Arlen and the top notch singing of Judy Garland who poured blood, sweat and tears into every single note.




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