In At Large and At Small, Anne Fadiman returns to one of her favorite genres, the familiar essaya 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 Hagen-Dazs Chocolate Chocolate Chip and her brothers homemade Liquid Nitrogen Kahla Coffee (recipe included); she sustains a terrific caffeine buzz while recounting Balzacs 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 fathers nocturnal word games and Lewis Carrolls mathematical puzzles. At Large and At Small is a brilliant and delightful collection of essays that harkens a revival of a long-cherished genre.