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Merda con zucchero


Leading the simple life takes its toll
Frederic Raphael Writer
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Everything went, actually, pretty well in my life. I wrote several more movies. A lot of them didn't get made, but nobody seemed to mind because, funnily enough, in America they quite like my company. I amuse people in America and I'm more American. I do that. I'm quite a kind of chameleon figure in terms of taking on local colour. And it amuses me to be toffy with toffs and academic with academics and various other things.

I don't know where the years went. Sarah grew up, Paul grew up and Steve went to school in France. And we had a great time. All the time that there was a disaster with dreadful things like bell-bottom jeans and national catastrophes of that order in England, we were in France and Steve was at the local school and we led a very, very simple life and we were very happy. Sarah began to do very well with her work when she left Bedales. And she didn't do very well, she just was very good. And the years went by. And they do, don't they?

I don't know what my reputation was. I was told by somebody not long ago that I had made a mess of my career in the 1970s by leaving England after The Glittering Prizes. To which my honest answer is, I don't have a career. I didn't know that writers were supposed to be careerists. I thought they were supposed to write. I thought exactly the same thing then as I thought after I told the people at Macmillan that I didn't want to make friends with my work, and I think it now. I would like to be a very well selling writer and, like Henry James in the theatre, you know, I've done my best in the commercial world. Henry James was once asked why he thought he had not been a success in the theatre. And for once in his life he was very monosyllabic and he said, 'I don't know. I tried so hard to be base'.

Born in America in 1931, Frederic Raphael is a writer who moved to England as a boy. He was educated at Charterhouse School and was a Major Scholar in Classics at St John's College, Cambridge. His articles and book reviews appear in a number of newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times and The Sunday Times. He has published more than twenty novels, the best-known being the semi-autobiographical The Glittering Prizes (1976). In 1965 Raphael won an Oscar for the screenplay for the movie Darling, and two years later received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for Two for the Road. In 1999, he published Eyes Wide Open, a memoir of his collaboration with the director Stanley Kubrick on the screenplay of Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick's final movie. Raphael lives in France and England and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1964.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Henry James

Duration: 2 minutes, 8 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2014

Date story went live: 10 September 2014