Thursday, October 27, 2011
How Ham Became Wilbur
"Not long before E.B. White started writing his classic children’s story Charlotte’s Web about a spider called Charlotte and a pig named Wilbur, he had a porcine encounter that seems to have deeply affected him. In a 1947 essay for the Atlantic Monthly, he describes several days and nights spent with an ailing pig—one he had originally intended to butcher. '[The pig’s] suffering soon became the embodiment of all earthly wretchedness,' White wrote. The animal died, but had he recovered it is very doubtful that White would have had the heart to carry out his intentions. 'The loss we felt was not the loss of ham but the loss of pig,' he wrote in the essay.
That sentiment became part of the inspiration for Charlotte’s Web, published in 1952 and still one of the most beloved books of all time. Now a new book, The Story of Charlotte’s Web: E.B. White’s Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic by Michael Sims, focuses on White’s lifelong connection to animals and nature."
— Chloe Schama, Smithsonian
Buy Michael Sim's new book, and Charlotte's Web here...