Letter received regarding Stuart Little

I wrote a letter to the writer E. B. White in 1977 in which I asked him whether he planned to write a sequel to his novel Stuart Little and whether I could perhaps help to write it. The letter I wrote was a bit imperious but I managed to inspire a response.

I received this letter from his wife Katharine S. A. White in which she explains why some literary works are left open and are not wrapped up neatly.

ebwhite envelope

ebwhite letter

The letter is dated May 27, 1977 and at the bottom is scrawled “Forgive my handwriting. I am almost blind this week.” In fact, Katharine S. A. White died on July 20, 1977, just two months after she wrote this letter to me. I learned later that Mrs. White, born in 1892, had been a central figure in the establishment of the New Yorker Magazine, once a great literary institution, but later reduced to indulgent gossip in the 1990s (from which it never recovered).

This letter touched me profoundly and gave me a sense of mission in my writing thereafter that carried me forward. I happened to come across the letter when organizing my old correspondence last week.



3 responses to “Letter received regarding Stuart Little

  1. Craig April 22, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    Brilliant letter. Never lose that. Keep it together with yours (though yours is apparently gone?) and pass it on.

  2. Emanuel Pastreich April 23, 2018 at 10:26 am

    Mrs. Lewis died two months after she wrote to me. I can imagine that those cleaning up her study after 40 years as an editor of the New Yorker must have thrown away a lot of letters!

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