Elwyn Brooks White citáty

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Elwyn Brooks White

Datum narození: 11. červenec 1899
Datum úmrtí: 1. říjen 1985

Elwyn Brooks White byl americký spisovatel.

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Elwyn Brooks White

Citáty Elwyn Brooks White

„We grow tyrannical fighting tyranny…“

—  E. B. White

Letter to Janice White (27 April 1952)
Kontext: We grow tyrannical fighting tyranny... The most alarming spectacle today is not the spectacle of the atomic bomb in an unfederated world, it is the spectacle of the Americans beginning to accept the device of loyalty oaths and witchhunts, beginning to call anybody they don't like a Communist.

„Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time. It is the feeling of privacy in the voting booths, the feeling of communion in the libraries, the feeling of vitality everywhere.“

—  E. B. White

The New Yorker (3 July 1943); reprinted as "Democracy" in The Wild Flag (1946)
Kontext: We received a letter from the Writers' War Board the other day asking for a statement on "The Meaning of Democracy." It is presumably our duty to comply with such a request, and it is certainly our pleasure. Surely the Board knows what democracy is. It is the line that forms on the right. It is the don't in don't shove. It is the hole in the stuffed shirt through which the sawdust slowly trickles, the dent in the high hat. Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time. It is the feeling of privacy in the voting booths, the feeling of communion in the libraries, the feeling of vitality everywhere.
Democracy is the letter to the editor. Democracy is the score at the beginning of the ninth. It is an idea which hasn't been disproved yet, a song the words of which have not gone bad. It's the mustard on the hot dog and the cream in the rationed coffee. Democracy is a request from a War Board, in the middle of the morning in the middle of a war, wanting to know what democracy is.

„Americans are willing to go to enormous trouble and expense defending their principles with arms, very little trouble and expense advocating them with words.“

—  E. B. White

"The Thud of Ideas," The New Yorker (23 September 1950)
Kontext: Americans are willing to go to enormous trouble and expense defending their principles with arms, very little trouble and expense advocating them with words. Temperamentally we are ready to die for certain principles (or, in the case of overripe adults, send youngsters to die), but we show little inclination to advertise the reasons for dying.

„The planet holds out no such inducement. The planet is everybody's. All it offers is the grass, the sky, the water, the ineluctable dream of peace and fruition.“

—  E. B. White

"Intimations" (December 1941)
One Man's Meat (1942)
Kontext: Before you can be an internationalist you have first to be a naturalist and feel the ground under you making a whole circle. It is easier for a man to be loyal to his club than to his planet; the bylaws are shorter, and he is personally acquainted with the other members. A club, moreover, or a nation, has a most attractive offer to make: it offers the right to be exclusive. There are not many of us who are physically constituted to resist this strange delight, this nourishing privilege. It is at the bottom of all fraternities, societies, orders. It is at the bottom of most trouble. The planet holds out no such inducement. The planet is everybody's. All it offers is the grass, the sky, the water, the ineluctable dream of peace and fruition.

„The Chinese delegate blinked his eyes and produced a shoebox, from which he drew a living flower which looked very like an iris. 'What is that?' they all inquired, pleased with the sight of so delicate a symbol.
'That,' said the Chinese, 'is a wild flag, Iris tectorum. In China we have decided to adopt this flag, since it is a convenient and universal device and very beautiful and grows everywhere in the moist places of the earth for all to observe and wonder at. I propose all countries adopt it, so that it will be impossible for us to insult each other's flag.'“

—  E. B. White

The Wild Flag (1943)
Kontext: Each delegate brought the flag of his homeland with him-each, that is, except the delegate from China. When the others asked him why he had failed to bring a flag, he said that he had discussed the matter with another Chinese survivor, an ancient and very wise man, and that between them they had concluded that they would not have any cloth flag for China anymore.
'What kind of flag do you intend to have?' asked the delegate from Luxembourg. The Chinese delegate blinked his eyes and produced a shoebox, from which he drew a living flower which looked very like an iris. 'What is that?' they all inquired, pleased with the sight of so delicate a symbol.
'That,' said the Chinese, 'is a wild flag, Iris tectorum. In China we have decided to adopt this flag, since it is a convenient and universal device and very beautiful and grows everywhere in the moist places of the earth for all to observe and wonder at. I propose all countries adopt it, so that it will be impossible for us to insult each other's flag.

„I am a member of a party of one, and I live in an age of fear.“

—  E. B. White

Letter to the New York Herald Tribune (29 November 1947)
Kontext: I am a member of a party of one, and I live in an age of fear. Nothing lately has unsettled my party and raised my fears so much as your editorial, on Thanksgiving Day, suggesting that employees should be required to state their beliefs in order to hold their jobs. The idea is inconsistent with our constitutional theory and has been stubbornly opposed by watchful men since the early days of the Republic.

„The subtlest change in New York is something people don't speak much about but that is in everyone's mind. The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible. A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions. The intimation of mortality is part of New York now: in the sounds of jets overhead, in the black headlines of the latest edition.“

—  E. B. White

"Here Is New York," Holiday (1948); reprinted in Here is New York (1949)
Kontext: The subtlest change in New York is something people don't speak much about but that is in everyone's mind. The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible. A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions. The intimation of mortality is part of New York now: in the sounds of jets overhead, in the black headlines of the latest edition.
All dwellers in cities must dwell with the stubborn fact of annihilation; in New York the fact is somewhat more concentrated because of the concentration of the city itself and because, of all targets, New York has a certain clear priority. In the mind of whatever perverted dreamer who might loose the lightning, New York must hold a steady, irresistible charm.

„In the mind of whatever perverted dreamer who might loose the lightning, New York must hold a steady, irresistible charm.“

—  E. B. White

"Here Is New York," Holiday (1948); reprinted in Here is New York (1949)
Kontext: The subtlest change in New York is something people don't speak much about but that is in everyone's mind. The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible. A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions. The intimation of mortality is part of New York now: in the sounds of jets overhead, in the black headlines of the latest edition.
All dwellers in cities must dwell with the stubborn fact of annihilation; in New York the fact is somewhat more concentrated because of the concentration of the city itself and because, of all targets, New York has a certain clear priority. In the mind of whatever perverted dreamer who might loose the lightning, New York must hold a steady, irresistible charm.

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„I say it's spinach, and I say the hell with it.“

—  E. B. White

Caption for a cartoon by Carl Rose in The New Yorker (8 December 1928)
Kontext: "It's broccoli, dear."
"I say it's spinach, and I say the hell with it."

„It is easier for a man to be loyal to his club than to his planet; the bylaws are shorter, and he is personally acquainted with the other members.“

—  E. B. White

"Intimations" (December 1941)
One Man's Meat (1942)
Kontext: Before you can be an internationalist you have first to be a naturalist and feel the ground under you making a whole circle. It is easier for a man to be loyal to his club than to his planet; the bylaws are shorter, and he is personally acquainted with the other members. A club, moreover, or a nation, has a most attractive offer to make: it offers the right to be exclusive. There are not many of us who are physically constituted to resist this strange delight, this nourishing privilege. It is at the bottom of all fraternities, societies, orders. It is at the bottom of most trouble. The planet holds out no such inducement. The planet is everybody's. All it offers is the grass, the sky, the water, the ineluctable dream of peace and fruition.

„When you consider that there are a thousand ways to express even the simplest idea, it is no wonder writers are under a great strain. Writers care greatly how a thing is said — it makes all the difference.“

—  E. B. White

Paris Review interview (1969)
Kontext: When you consider that there are a thousand ways to express even the simplest idea, it is no wonder writers are under a great strain. Writers care greatly how a thing is said — it makes all the difference. So they are constantly faced with too many choices and must make too many decisions.
I am still encouraged to go on. I wouldn't know where else to go.

„Once in everyone's life there is apt to be a period when he is fully awake, instead of half asleep.“

—  E. B. White

Foreword to revised edition (1982)
One Man's Meat (1942)
Kontext: Once in everyone's life there is apt to be a period when he is fully awake, instead of half asleep. I think of those five years in Maine as the time when this happened to me … I was suddenly seeing, feeling, and listening as a child sees, feels, and listens. It was one of those rare interludes that can never be repeated, a time of enchantment. I am fortunate indeed to have had the chance to get some of it down on paper.

„This is the dream we had, asleep in our chair, thinking of Christmas in the lands of fir tree and pine, Christmas in lands of palm tree and vine, and of how the one great sky does for all places and all people.“

—  E. B. White

The Wild Flag (1943)
Kontext: This is the dream we had, asleep in our chair, thinking of Christmas in the lands of fir tree and pine, Christmas in lands of palm tree and vine, and of how the one great sky does for all places and all people.
After the third great war was over (this was a curious dream), there was no more than a handful of people left alive, and the earth was in ruins and the ruins were horrible to behold. The people, the survivors, decided to meet to talk over their problem and to make a lasting peace, which is the customary thing to make after a long and exhausting war. There were eighty-three countries, and each country sent a delegate to the convention. One English-man came, one Peruvian, one Ethiopian, one Frenchman, one Japanese, and so on, until every country was represented.

„It is the oldest flag in the world, the original one, you might say. We are now, in an original condition again, you might say.“

—  E. B. White

The Wild Flag (1943)
Kontext: I don't see how a strong foreign policy can be built around a wild flag which is the same for everybody,' complained the Latvian.
'It can't be,' said the Chinese. 'That is one of the virtues of my little flag. I should remind you that the flag was once yours, too. It is the oldest flag in the world, the original one, you might say. We are now, in an original condition again, you might say. There are very few of us.'
The German delegate arose stiffly. 'I would be a poor man indeed,' he said, 'did I not feel that I belonged to the master race. And for that I need a special flag, natürlich.'
'At the moment,' replied the Chinaman, 'the master race, like so many other races, is suffering from the handicap of being virtually extinct. There are fewer than two hundred people left in the entire world, and we suffer from a multiplicity of banner.

„At this juncture we might conceivably act in a sensible, rather than a popular, manner“

—  E. B. White

The Wild Flag (1943)
Kontext: The delegate from Patagonia spoke up. 'I fear that the wild flag, one for all, will prove an unpopular idea.'
'It will, undoubtedly,' sighed the Chinese delegate. 'But now that there are only a couple of hundred people on earth, even the word "unpopular" loses most of its meaning. At this juncture we might conceivably act in a sensible, rather than a popular, manner.' And he produced eighty-two more shoeboxes and handed a wild flag to each delegate, bowing ceremoniously.
Next day the convention broke up and the delegates returned to their homes, marveling at what they had accomplished in so short a time. And that is the end of our dream.

„I am still encouraged to go on. I wouldn't know where else to go.“

—  E. B. White

Paris Review interview (1969)
Kontext: When you consider that there are a thousand ways to express even the simplest idea, it is no wonder writers are under a great strain. Writers care greatly how a thing is said — it makes all the difference. So they are constantly faced with too many choices and must make too many decisions.
I am still encouraged to go on. I wouldn't know where else to go.

„Government is the thing. Law is the thing.“

—  E. B. White

As quoted in Common Cause: A Monthly Report of the Committee to Frame a World Constitution Vol. I, No. 2 (August 1947)
Kontext: Government is the thing. Law is the thing. Not brotherhood, not international cooperation, not security councils that can stop war only by waging it... Where does security lie, anyway — security against the thief, a bad man, the murderer? In brotherly love? Not at all. It lies in government.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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