E.B. White and his dog Minnie in White’s office at the New Yorker.

Provided by Tilbury House,

"E.B. White on Dogs," edited by Martha White.

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Edited by: Martha White.

Publisher: Tilbury House, 178 pages, $22.95.

Review: The dry wit of E.B. White, and dogs, dogs, dogs.

Review: A delightful collection, "E.B. White on Dogs," edited by Martha White

  • May 18, 2013 - 4:12 PM

Fred the dachshund was an important character in E.B. White’s essay “Death of a Pig.” He stood at White’s side during the pig’s treatment and burial, serving as a silent witness to suffering and adding, oddly, a grave dash of humanity. But this isn’t surprising, since dogs were some of White’s most memorable characters.

In this new book, White’s granddaughter, Martha White, has pulled together a mixed bag of his writings on dogs — but a delightful mixed bag, including personal letters, New Yorker casuals, essays and silly poems.

Dogs are the common denominator here — the famous Fred, the ill-fated Daisy (she was run over by a taxi), Minnie and Raffles. If you’ve read much White, you know these guys.

Dogs often served as a prism through which White viewed the world, and yet in his writing they never lost their essential dog-ness: Yes, they were sardonic and wry and occasionally had interior lives, but, like any dog, they also sniffed and dug, they ate vile things, they were deeply indulged.

In one piece, a response to the ASPCA, White notes, “I have received your letter, undated, saying that I am harboring an unlicensed dog in violation of the law. If by ‘harboring’ you mean getting up two or three times every night to pull Minnie’s blanket up over her, I am harboring a dog all right. The blanket keeps slipping off.”

Oh, it is nice to hear White’s dry voice again, and to have these fine dogs live once more.


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