Thursday, February 4, 2010

Essay: "Here Is New York." EB White (2). 1948.

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

Ideas (continued):

“The city is like poetry: it compresses all life, all races and breeds, into a small island…. The greatest human concentrate on earth…but whose full measure will always remain illusive.”

“The Empire State Building shot twelve hundred and fifty feet into the air…and been jumped off of by so many unhappy people that pedestrians instinctively quicken steps when passing Fifth Avenue and 34th Street.”

Manhattan has been compelled to expand skyward because of the absence of any other direction in which to grow.”

“Mass hysteria is a terrible force, yet New Yorkers seem always to escape it by some tiny margin: they sit in stalled subways without claustrophobia, they extricate themselves from panic situations by some lucky wisecrack, they meet confusion and congestion with patience—a sort of perpetual muddling through.”

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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