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At Large and at Small : Familiar Essays - Anne Fadiman

At Large and at Small

Familiar Essays

Paperback Published: 27th May 2008
ISBN: 9780374531317
Number Of Pages: 220

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In "At Large and At Small," Anne Fadiman returns to one of her favorite genres, the familiar essay--a beloved and hallowed literary tradition recognized for both its intellectual breadth and its miniaturist focus on everyday experiences. With the combination of humor and erudition that has distinguished her as one of our finest essayists, Fadiman draws us into twelve of her personal obsessions: from her slightly sinister childhood enthusiasm for catching butterflies to her monumental crush on Charles Lamb, from her wistfulness for the days of letter-writing to the challenges and rewards of moving from the city to the country.
Many of these essays were composed "under the influence" of the subject at hand. Fadiman ingests a shocking amount of ice cream and divulges her passion for Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Chocolate Chip and her brother's homemade Liquid Nitrogen Kahlua Coffee (recipe included); she sustains a terrific caffeine buzz while recounting Balzac's coffee addiction; and she stays up till dawn to write about being a night owl, examining the rhythms of our circadian clocks and sharing such insomnia cures as her father's nocturnal word games and Lewis Carroll's mathematical puzzles. "At Large and At Small "is a brilliant and delightful collection of essays that harkens a revival of a long-cherished genre. Anne Fadiman is the Francis Writer-in-Residence at Yale. She is the author of "Ex Libris "(FSG, 1998) and "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down "(FSG, 1997, recipient of a National Book Critics Circle Award), and the editor of "Rereadings "(FSG, 2005). In "At Large and At Small," Anne Fadiman returns to one of her favorite genres, the familiar essay--a beloved and hallowed literary tradition recognized for both its intellectual breadth and its miniaturist focus on everyday experiences. With the combination of humor and erudition that has distinguished her as one of our finest essayists, Fadiman draws us into twelve of her personal obsessions: from her slightly sinister childhood enthusiasm for catching butterflies to her monumental crush on Charles Lamb, from her wistfulness for the days of letter-writing to the challenges and rewards of moving from the city to the country.
Many of these essays were composed "under the influence" of the subject at hand. Fadiman ingests a shocking amount of ice cream and divulges her passion for Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Chocolate Chip and her brother's homemade Liquid Nitrogen Kahlua Coffee (recipe included); she sustains a terrific caffeine buzz while recounting Balzac's coffee addiction; and she stays up till dawn to write about being a night owl, examining the rhythms of our circadian clocks and sharing such insomnia cures as her father's nocturnal word games and Lewis Carroll's mathematical puzzles. "At Large and At Small "is a brilliant and delightful collection of essays that harkens a revival of a long-cherished genre.

"Detailed and elegant, her essays] reveal a reflective writer with rarefied interests . . . an] engaging mixture of intellectual exploration, textured storytelling and accessible prose."--"Time Out New York
""This essay collection by the former editor of "The American Scholar" attempts to bring back the 'familiar essay, ' a less formal rumination on a given topic. From homemade ice cream to the charms of being a night owl, the subjects of these essays may seem as if they're chosen without any discrimination (hence the title), but they're all equally celebrated with Fadiman's wit and insight."--"Venus Zine"
"Anne Fadiman wins our attention by directing hers with unwavering focus at the world around her. Her perceptions are astute and her sensibility is so rich and sane no calculation could violate it. The personal essay was invented so that writers like Fadiman could practice it."--Sven Birkerts
"Limpid, learned, perspicacious--and relentless. Whatever the subject, Anne Fadiman overlooks nothing, imparts everything, and leaves you wanting more."--Thomas Mallon
"These are wonderful essays. The writing is effortless, elegant, and clear, the subjects delightful or weighty or both. Anne Fadiman had me completely charmed by page four."--Ian Frazier
"Fadiman, a National Book Critics Circle Award winner for "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall," makes a bold claim: 'I believe the survival of the familiar essay is worth fighting for.' The 'familiar essays' that Fadiman champions and writes are in the mold of the early 19th century, rather than critical or personal works as we've come to know them. Her essays combine a personal perspective with a far-reaching curiosity about the world, resulting in pieces that are neither so objective the reader can't see the writer behind them nor too self-absorbed. And spending some time with Fadiman is a pure delight. She loves the natural world and taxonomies of all kinds, as well as ice cream and coffee. Her love of the romantic age goes beyond the stylistic, and she prefers Coleridge and Lamb over Wordsworth and Southey. The collection rolls good-naturedly through its subjects until the final piece--an account of a whitewater rafting trip that went tragically awry, a harrowing reminder of the stakes on which all endeavors rest. This collection is a perfectly faceted little gem. Essayists, of both the critical and personal sort, could do worse than to follow Fadiman into the realm of the familiar."--"Publishers Weekly "(starred review)
"Fadiman begins her second essay collection by quoting her father, the waggish intellectual of page, radio, and television Clifton Fadiman, lamenting the impending demise of the 'familiar essay.' Decades later, Anne is happy to report that the essay has survived, even if the familiar essay is now less, well, familiar than the critical or personal essay. A familiar essay is a confiding, inquiring, and witty reflection on a passionately considered subject. This intimate form was perfected by Charles Lamb, a writer Anne adores. With Lam

"Anne Fadiman wins our attention by directing hers with unwavering focus at the world around her. Her perceptions are astute and her sensibility is so rich and sane no calculation could violate it. The personal essay was invented so that writers like Fadiman could practice it." --Sven Birkerts

"Limpid, learned, perspicacious--and relentless. Whatever the subject, Anne Fadiman overlooks nothing, imparts everything, and leaves you wanting more." --Thomas Mallon

"These are wonderful essays. The writing is effortless, elegant, and clear, the subjects delightful or weighty or both. Anne Fadiman had me completely charmed by page four." --Ian Frazier Anne Fadiman wins our attention by directing hers with unwavering focus at the world around her. Her perceptions are astute and her sensibility is so rich and sane no calculation could violate it. The personal essay was invented so that writers like Fadiman could practice it. "Sven Birkerts"

Limpid, learned, perspicacious--and relentless. Whatever the subject, Anne Fadiman overlooks nothing, imparts everything, and leaves you wanting more. "Thomas Mallon"

These are wonderful essays. The writing is effortless, elegant, and clear, the subjects delightful or weighty or both. Anne Fadiman had me completely charmed by page four. "Ian Frazier"" "Anne Fadiman wins our attention by directing hers with unwavering focus at the world around her. Her perceptions are astute and her sensibility is so rich and sane no calculation could violate it. The personal essay was invented so that writers like Fadiman could practice it." --Sven Birkerts "Limpid, learned, perspicacious--and relentless. Whatever the subject, Anne Fadiman overlooks nothing, imparts everything, and leaves you wanting more." --Thomas Mallon "These are wonderful essays. The writing is effortless, elegant, and clear, the subjects delightful or weighty or both. Anne Fadiman had me completely charmed by page four."--Ian Frazier "Anne Fadiman wins our attention by directing hers with unwavering focus at the world around her. Her perceptions are astute and her sensibility is so rich and sane no calculation could violate it. The personal essay was invented so that writers like Fadiman could practice it." -Sven Birkerts "Limpid, learned, perspicacious-and relentless. Whatever the subject, Anne Fadiman overlooks nothing, imparts everything, and leaves you wanting more." -Thomas Mallon &n " Anne Fadiman wins our attention by directing hers with unwavering focus at the world around her. Her perceptions are astute and her sensibility is so rich and sane no calculation could violate it. The personal essay was invented so that writers like Fadiman could practice it." -- Sven Birkerts " Limpid, learned, perspicacious-- and relentless. Whatever the subject, Anne Fadiman overlooks nothing, imparts everything, and leaves you wanting more." -- Thomas M a l l o n & n b s p; & n b s p; & n b s p; & n b s p; & n b s p; & n b s p; & n b s p; & n b s p; & n b s p; & n b s p; & n b s p; & n b s p; & n b s p; & n b s p; & n b s p; & n b s p; & n b s p; & n b s p; & n b s p; " These are wonderful essays. The writing is effortless, elegant, and clear, the subjects delightful or weighty or both. Anne Fadiman had me completely charmed by page four." -- Ian Frazier " These are wonderful essays. The writing is effortless, elegant, and clear, the subjects delightful or weighty or both. Anne Fadiman had me completely charmed by page four." -- Ian Frazier

ISBN: 9780374531317
ISBN-10: 0374531315
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 220
Published: 27th May 2008
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 19.05 x 12.7  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.18

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