Radio Times

E.B. White’s Eccentric Life and The Story of Charlotte’s Web

July 27, 2011


Hour 2

Do you look at a spider web for secret messages? No? Then you probably never read the 1952 classic, “Charlotte’s Web, ” about the farm pig whose impending slaughter is put off by the high-praising messages spun in the dazzling webs of his friend, Charlotte, the spider. “Charlotte’s Web” still charms children and adults almost 60 years since its publication. What inspired the American writer E.B. White to write about barnyard animals? Writer MICHAEL SIMS pored over White’s research and letters to create “The Story of Charlotte’s Web: E.B. White’s Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic.” White was a staff writer for The New Yorker and author two other classics of children’s literature, “Stuart Little” and “The Trumpet of the Swan.” He also revised the writing manual of his Cornell teacher, William Strunk Jr., “The Elements of Style.” Sims comes in to describe the little sack of spider eggs White took from his farm house that helped weave the story that turned into a seminal 20th century book.

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