Clifton P. "Kip" Fadiman, 1904 - 1999

portrait of Clifton Fadiman


Born: 15 May 1904, Brooklyn, New York
Died: 20 June 1999, Sanibel Island, Florida

Born to a Russian-Jewish immigrant family, Fadiman was reading at age four, in several languages by age ten. At seventeen he was writing book reviews for The Nation, getting a start on the 25,000 books he later estimated he had read. While at Columbia University he translated two of Nietzsche's books into English for the Modern Library. Graduating in 1925, he taught high school English for two years before joining Simon & Schuster as an editor for ten years, then took charge of The New Yorker's book review section for the next ten. He was a judge for the Book of the Month Club from 1944 and was senior editor of Cricket, a literary magazine for children, in the 1970s. From 1938 to 1948 he hosted Information Please!, a popular radio quiz show, with Franklin P. Adams, John Kieran, and Oscar Levant as frequent guests, then was a witty and erudite guest and host of a number of television shows in the 1950s. As a member of the editorial board of Encyclopedia Britannica he edited Treasury of the Britannica, starting by reading every issue of the encyclopedia for the previous two centuries. In addition to being fluent in German and French since youth, he tackled Italian, Spanish, Swedish, and Dutch in his seventh decade. He lost his vision at 89 but switched to books on tape rather than giving up reading, he died of pancreatic cancer at age 95.

Biography from Wikipedia and Center for Fiction

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