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Anne Fadiman

  • Every time Dan tried to steer the discussion toward cultural issues, the residents yanked it back to a debate on the relative merits of labetalol and hydralazine as antihypertensives. This is the kind of thinking that has begotten the cartoon-version M.D., the all-head-no-heart formalist who, when presented with a problem, would rather medicate it, scan it, suture it, splint it, excise it, anesthetize it, or autopsy it than communicate with it. Fortunately, most real-life doctors ... are not automatons.

  • Changing our language to make men and women equal has a cost. That doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. High prices are attached to many things that are on the whole worth doing. It does mean that the loss of our heedless grace should be mourned, and then accepted with all the civility we can muster, by every writer worth his'er salt.

  • ... when I walk into an apartment with books on the shelves, books on the bedside tables, books on the floor, and books on the toilet tank, then I know what I would see if I opened the door that says Private — grownups keep out: a children sprawled on the bed, reading.

  • It is a truism of epistolary psychology that, for example, a Christmas thank-you note written on December 26 can say any old thing, but if you wait until February, you are convinced that nothing less than Middlemarch will do.

    • Anne Fadiman,
    • "Mail," in Kathleen Norris, ed., The Best American Essays ()
  • E-mail is a modern Penny Post: the world is a single city with a single postal rate.

    • Anne Fadiman,
    • "Mail," in Kathleen Norris, ed., The Best American Essays ()
  • What hashish was to Baudelaire, opium to Coleridge, cocaine to Robert Louis Stevenson, nitrous oxide to Robert Southey, mescaline to Aldous Huxley, and Benzedrine to Jack Kerouac, caffeine was to Balzac.

    • Anne Fadiman,
    • "Coffee," At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays ()
  • The reader who plucks a book from her shelf only once is as deprived as the listener who, after attending a single performance of a Beethoven symphony, never hears it again.

    • Anne Fadiman,
    • introduction, Rereadings: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love ()

Anne Fadiman, U.S. writer, educator, editor

(1960)