Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Essay: "Here Is New York." EB White (1). 1948.

One-minute review: Impressions of New York City by the well-known writer of children’s books and for The New Yorker magazine.


“On any person who desires such queer prizes, New York will bestow the gift of loneliness and the gift of privacy.”

“…for the residents of Manhattan are to a large extent strangers who have pulled up stakes somewhere and come to town, seeking sanctuary or fulfillment or some greater or lesser grail.”

New York…can destroy an individual, or it can fulfill him….”

“I heard the Queen Mary blow one midnight, though, and the sound carried the whole history of departure and longing and loss.”

“I mention these merely to show that New York is peculiarly constructed to absorb almost anything that comes along…without inflicting the event on its inhabitants….”

“There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter—the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something.”

To be continued.

Great Essays. Ed. Houston Peterson. New York: Washington Square Press, Inc. 1960.

What is an essay? “They are all prefaces. A preface is nothing but a talk with the reader; and they [essays] do nothing else.” Charles Lamb.

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