At Large and at Small: Confessions of a Literary HedonistHardback
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- Publisher: ALLEN LANE
- Format: Hardback | 240 pages
- Dimensions: 138mm x 184mm x 26mm | 340g
- Publication date: 1 November 2007
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 1846140439
- ISBN 13: 9781846140433
- Sales rank: 490,809
In "At Large and At Small", Anne Fadiman returns to one of her favourite genres, the familiar essay - a beloved and hallowed literary tradition recognized for both its intellectual breadth and its miniaturist focus on everyday experiences. With her wonderful combination of wit and erudition, 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 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. This is a perfect book for life's passionate obsessives.
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Anne Fadiman is the Francis Writer in Residence at Yale. Her first book, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, won the US National Book Critics' Circle Award for Non-Fiction. She is also the author of two essay collections, Ex Libris and At Large and At Small. Her writing has appeared in the New Yorker, Life, Esquire, the Washington Post and The New York Times. She lives in western Massachusetts with her husband and two children.
By Mark Thwaite 10 Dec 2008
Anne Fadiman's collection of essays Ex Libris showed what a fine eye for detail she has and what a fine ear for the bon mot. In At Large and at Small: Confessions of a Literary Hedonist Fadiman has collected together another lovely selection of what she calls her "familiar essays" -- essays that are at once both intellectually rigorous and yet not afraid to focus on the small things in life.
Fadiman, who holds the Francis chair in nonfiction writing at Yale, writes about the things she loves and knows best: about coffee (like Balzac, she is something of a caffeine addict), ice-cream, catching butterflies, flags and insomnia. And she writes about the 18th century English essayist Charles Lamb, to whom she is so intellectually indebted. Whilst the essays are sometimes both a little stuffy and occassionally over-fussy, most of the time they are an absolute delight. Fadiman can be witty, observant and profound. She is a wonderful writer and this is a collection to cherish.