Top 10 E.B. White Quotes

E.B. White was an American writer and contributor to The New Yorker and a co-author of the famous English language style guide, The Elements of Style. Later in life, he turned his talents to writing children’s books including Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little. He won the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, The Presidential Medal of Freedom, The Newberry Award, and the National Medal for Literature.

A quiet, unassuming man who disliked the public eye, his co-author James Thurber said of White:

“Most of us, out of a politeness made up of faint curiosity and profound resignation, go out to meet the smiling stranger with a gesture of surrender and a fixed grin, but White has always taken to the fire escape. He has avoided the Man in the Reception Room as he has avoided the interviewer, the photographer, the microphone, the rostrum, the literary tea, and the Stork Club. His life is his own. He is the only writer of prominence I know of who could walk through the Algonquin lobby or between the tables at Jack and Charlie’s and be recognized only by his friends.”— James Thurber, E. B. W., “Credos and Curios”

In honor of White’s humor and quiet wisdom, here are ten choice quotes:

“Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.”

“Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.” 

“A good farmer is nothing more nor less than a handy man with a sense of humus.” 

“To perceive Christmas through its wrappings becomes more difficult with every year.”

“One of the most time-consuming things is to have an enemy.” 

“I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.”

“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.” 

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” 

“Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one.” 

“The only sense that is common in the long run, is the sense of change and we all instinctively avoid it. “

2 thoughts on “Top 10 E.B. White Quotes

  1. Oh, man, these are great. I especially resonate with this one right now: “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” Mmmm…totally get that.

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