The original Elements of Style (1918) was written and published by professor William Strunk, Jr. It came to the attention of E. B. White (1957). White studied under Strunk but had forgotten the “forty-three-page summation of the case for cleanliness, accuracy, and brevity in the use of English.” Later, White rediscovered Strunk and went on to do a new Elements of Style (1959). In this revision, White expanded/modernized the old version, creating the handbook now known as, simply, “Strunk and White”.
In 2005, Penguin came out with a new illustrated edition with stunning illos by Maira Kalman. I am totally blown away by her work for this book as well as for the New Yorker. She and Alex Kalman even made a delightful and artful little movie: Elements of Style Film. To me, her work is a combination of Bonnard, Manet, and Kahlo, with a little Neel and Thiebaud in the mix as well.
I’m itching to do an oil painting after pouring through her illos. It’s been a while for me but I’d love to just do a really fun one with a beautiful and bold palette (her palettes are delicious). Maira, you’re amazing!
This book is a must see. I should really be referring to it while writing these posts. I should have referred to it while writing my masters thesis. Perhaps I’m too scared to learn how awfully I write. I think E.B White would be appalled!!! Sorry E.B! I do think Stuart Little is possibly in my top 10 favorite books ever.