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Phoebe-Lou Adams
Staff Writer

  • Brief Reviews by Phoebe-Lou Adams


    pla picture Phoebe-Lou Adams recounts her career, including her longstanding association with The Atlantic Monthly: "I graduated from Radcliffe with a degree in English literature, which in the 1930s was about as useful, in terms of employability, as a case of measles. I got a job as librarian and house-organ reviewer at an elegant loony bin where it was sometimes difficult to tell the staff from the patients. From there, I managed to become the stupidest cub reporter on the local newspaper, which put up with females in the city room only because all the able-bodied young men were off at the war.

    "Meanwhile, an old friend and former teacher had joined the staff of The Atlantic Monthly, and the magazine needed somebody to run errands, speak civilly to would-be authors who wandered in off the streets, and translate foreign reports that arrived in antique cable-ese. So I was hired, and have been here ever since."

    Phoebe-Lou Adams is well known for the precision and wit of Brief Reviews, her monthly column about current books, which has appeared regularly, under various titles, in The Atlantic Monthly since 1952. Readers have received, for example, the following literary guidance:

    "Mr. Dutcher's photographs . . . are beautiful and, predictably, will arouse in any cat-fancier the suicidal itch to pet a puma."

    "Dr. [Ruth] Westheimer, a psychosexual therapist born in 1928, observed a year or so ago that paintings and sculpture can have 'strong erotic content.' With the help of an unnamed 'art historian' and extensive illustrations, she shares her discovery (which most of us make by age twelve) with the public, hoping that the combination of images and her advice will inspire readers to enjoy sex and avoid venereal disease. The illustrations are well produced."


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