Monday, February 8, 2010

Essay: "Here Is New York." EB White (4). 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 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….”

“All dwellers in cities must live 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 a way it [an old willow tree] symbolizes the city: life under difficulties, growth against odds, sap-rise in the midst of concrete, and the steady reaching for the sun.”

Comment: The first two quotes are an eerie prophecy of 9/11 and who knows what else? The essay was published in 1948. RayS.

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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