Friday Mystery Author: Dec. 8, 2006

Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Mystery Author (last week’s is here). Take a crack at identifying the source of the following passage, author and title, or just say hello in the comments. I’ll post the answer on Monday. As always, thank you for stopping by, and have a good weekend.

There is also a woodchuck here, living forty feet away under the wharf. When the wind is right, he can smell my house; and when the wind is contrary, I can smell his. We both use the warf for sunning, taking turns, each adjusting his schedule to the other’s convenience. Thoreau once ate a woodchuck. I think he felt he owed it to his readers, and that it was little enough, considering the indignities they were suffering at his hands and the dressing-down they were taking. (Parts of Walden are pure scold.) Or perhaps he ate the woodchuck because he believed every man should acquire strict business habits, and the woodchuck was destroying his market beans. I do not know. Thoreau had a strong experimental streak in him. It is probably no harder to eat a woodchuck than to construct a sentence that lasts a hundred years. At any rate, Thoreau is the only writer I know who prepared himself for his great ordeal by eating a woodchuck; also the only one who got a hangover from drinking too much water. (He was drunk the whole time, though he seldom touched wine or coffee or tea.)

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2 Responses to “Friday Mystery Author: Dec. 8, 2006”

  1. Friday Mystery Author: E.B. White « Zeal and Activity Says:

    […] The author of this week’s passage was E.B. White, from his essay “A Slight Sound at Evening,” written for the centenary of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. The essay begins: In his journal for July 10-12, 1841, Thoreau wrote: “A slight sound at evening lifts me up by the ears, and makes life seem inexpressibly serene and grand. It may be in Uranus, or it may be in the shutter.” The book into which he later managed to pack both Uranus and the shutter was published in 1854, and now, a hundred years having gone by, Walden, its serenity and grandeur unimpaired, still lifts us up by the ears, still translates for us that language we are in danger of forgetting, “which all things and events speak without metaphor, which alone is copious and standard.” […]

  2. Friday Mystery Author: Dec 15, 2006 « Zeal and Activity Says:

    […] Last week’s edition of Friday Mystery Author is here. Thank you for coming by, and have a good weekend. I’ll post this week’s title and author on Monday. […]

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