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Article: First Edition Printings of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little

First Edition Printings of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little

New into our shops are first edition printings Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, with beloved characters Stuart Little, Charlotte, and Wilbur as penned by E.B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams.

More than just simple books about animals, White’s novels address larger themes of friendship, love, life and death. "Stuart's journey symbolizes the continuing journey that everybody takes - in search of what is perfect and unattainable. This is perhaps too elusive an idea to put into a book for children, but I put it in anyway” (E. B. White). In a letter to his Harper & Brothers editor, Ursula Nordstrom, White frankly explains why he chose to use animal protagonists: “I have been asked to tell how I came to write Charlotte’s Web. Well, I like animals, and it would be odd if I failed to write about them.”

As a teenager, E. B. White became fascinated with the work of Don Marquis, a popular columnist for the New York Sun. Marquis created a memorable pair of nonhuman characters including Archy, a cockroach who wrote poetry on the columnist’s typewriter at night, and Mehitabel, a cat who “became Archy’s foil and partner in literary crime.” In creating his own cast of articulate animals, White acknowledged his debt to Marquis, even contributing an introduction to a posthumous collection of the Marquis’ work.

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