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The Measure of Her Powers: An M.F.K. Fisher Reader Paperback – October 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint (October 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582431043
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582431048
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,496,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Perhaps it is the title, The Measure of Her Powers, that is the organizing principle behind this collection of writings lifted from the incredible oeuvre that M.F.K. Fisher left behind. A measurement, then, a means of finally understanding what all the noise may or may not be about. There are 27 books attributed to Fisher on the cover flap. Her writings pretty much cover a life lived full throttle from 1908 to 1992; The Measure of Her Powers pretty much covers her life as it has been written.

It's kind of like peering at a fascinating woman in different times in a long life through a ViewMaster, clicking right along: the girl at school, the young woman in France and Switzerland, the widow and mother in California, and so on. All of it is "seen" through a strong, gentle, steady voice. Clicking right along.

She was a better writer when exploring food and passion in her early works than she was later when reflecting. Exactly when any given piece was actually written is left off, though the original title from which any piece of text was drawn is included. The truly vigilant and curious could assemble the publishing dates and explore the times of this writer's life, comparing the one to the other.

The Measure of Her Powers is a grand excuse, really, to discover and to rediscover so unique an American writer as M.F.K. Fisher. For those who have never had the thrill of hearing that fluid voice of hers extolling the pleasures of a good meal and good company, it is here and waiting. For those who have forgotten that thrill, the reminder can be found between these covers. This is a text that points back to original volumes, where the writer may be more fully explored and appreciated. In some of those volumes the power of Fisher has no limits. In other volumes a certain tiresomeness and pointlessness creeps in. The Measure of Her Powers deftly maps the territory. --Schuyler Ingle --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Food is what she wrote about, although to leave it at that is reductionist in the extreme. What she really wrote about was the passion, the importance of living boldly instead of cautiously; oh, what scorn she had for timid eaters, timid lovers, people who took timid stands, or none at all, on matters of principle." -- Cyra McFadden, San Francisco Examiner

"If I were still teaching high-school English, I'd use [Fisher's] books to show how to write simply, how to enjoy food and drink but, most of all, how to enjoy life. Her books and letters are one feast after another." -- Frank McCourt

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book of autobiographical essays is the best introduction to the writings of M.F.K. Fisher that I know of. I've read a lot of her books, and this remains a favorite. She gives us glimpses into the archaic and loving rituals of French cuisine, as practiced by the Burgundians, the strangeness of being a teenage girl in a cloister-like California boarding school in the 20's, and being the young, newly-married wife of a poetry scholar in Strasbourg.
The ironic thing about Fisher is that her husband was the literary scholar (Al Fisher wrote a monumental epic poem that vanished upon publication.) Her writing, however, is some of the best American prose; honest, perceptive, introspective and biting. Her work endures and provides more than just a viewpoint on cooking; it is a wonderful glimpse into pre-World War 2 Europe and America.
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27 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Mary Koeber on June 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
M.F.K. Fisher is the predecessor to Alice Waters. A Californian who learned early in life to appreciate the robust flavors of the freshest ingredients and how to achieve magic with them. The essays include Classical and modern history references to famous chefs and gourmandaise. The author touches subjects ranging from the outrageous and excesses of the Greeks and Romans to the shortages and sacrifices during wartime. A great reader for foodies.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By CLP on November 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Small print so hard to read for me. Not a fluff read as have to concentrate constantly. Quite different kind of book than I usually read.
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