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WHITE, E.B. - Is Sex Necessary?-- The Question on Everyone’s Mind
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WHITE, E.B. - Is Sex Necessary?-- The Question on Everyone’s Mind

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WHITE, E(lwyn) B(rooks). (1899-1985). American journalist and author of children’s books including the classic Charlotte’s Web. Signed book. (“EB White, ex-humorist”). 197pp. 4to. (New York, February 19, 1946). A 1944 reprint of James Thurber and E.B. White’s humorous book Is Sex Necessary? Or Why You Feel the Way You Do. Inscribed on the front free endpaper “To my chum,” writer, critic and New Yorker colleague, BRENDAN GILL (1914-1997), whose ownership signature (“Brendan Gill”), handwritten address and date is on the front pastedown.


E.B. White had a successful career writing for magazines before penning the works of children’s literature for which he is best known. In fact, White was a regular contributor to The New Yorker magazine for more than 60 years. Among other responsibilities, he edited the “newsbreaks,” column-fillers that reprinted humorous excerpts from newspapers. Eventually, the newsbreaks evolved into The New Yorker’s “Letters We Never Finished Reading” and “Neatest Trick of the Week” columns. It was also while at the magazine that White met and married its fiction editor, Katherine Angell. His highly regarded books, including Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan, were inspired by life on his farm in Brooklin, Maine. In 1959, he revised William Strunk, Jr.’s style manual, now published as Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style, still regarded as the standard writer’s reference.


Is Sex Necessary? was White’s second book and the first for Thurber, who had joined The New Yorker  in 1927, after writing for the Chicago Tribuneand New York’s Evening Post. The work features Thurber’s drawings, which, as noted in the book, combine the “melancholy of sex” with the “implausibility of animals.”Often considered Mark Twain’s successor, Thurber influenced such writers at Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut. He is perhaps best known for his short story, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, published in The New Yorker in 1939, and the inspiration for the 1947 Danny Kaye film and the 2013 motion picture directed by and starring Ben Stiller. 


Gill began working at The New Yorker in 1936, penning more than 1200 articles during his decades-long career. He succeeded Lewis Mumford as the magazine’s architecture critic in 1987, and was a strong proponent of architectural preservation. But he is also remembered for his devastating 1949 review of John O’Hara’s A Rage to Live. Gill labeled O’Hara’s novel “a catastrophe” which led O’Hara to sever his relationship with the magazine, though Gill blamed Thurber for driving O’Hara away.


Wear to surface and edges of cover. Some very light soiling on the signature page. In very good condition. White is scarce!



Item #20359


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