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How to write 'boney' prose


A cynic on the outside, an innocent on the inside
Frederic Raphael Writer
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I might just mention that before we actually left London to go to Spain, I had written a little book at the suggestion of Tom Maschler which was called The S Man. And the S Man is Mr Success. This is 1959, I think, I finished it in 1959 before we... before we set off for Spain. And it's a sort of epigrammatic book of... sort of episodic book, a sort of parody of Wittgenstein's Tractatus actually, about how to succeed in the... the burgeoning world of... of post-Suez England when Macmillan said you'd never had it so good. And... it was pretty funny actually, pretty good, I thought. Full of cynicism which I didn't really feel. In other words, there's a sort of split in my attitude towards the world which is persistent, a sort of public doubt about the virtue of almost absolutely anybody and everything, and an inner innocence, probably based on the fact that I'd been with the same woman for as long as I have, but not only that. A sort of inner sentimentality. If I made a list of things that brought tears to my eyes, they would be very disparate and curious. One of them would certainly be the Marseillaise, particularly as played in Casablanca. A number of things. But I like to give the impression, mainly because of my influencing, my being... mainly because of my being influenced by Somerset Maugham with 'I was a man of the world' who was not taken in by anything and was fairly dry-eyed and cynical about most matters. That is still my sort of public posture. It's a posture which is brought about, I think, by the Classics, Juvenal and Tacitus, and... who all else, liked to give the impression that they were beyond being shocked, and they regarded human foibles as a source of wry comedy, not anything to be morally indignant about, though they did do a bit of moral indignation or some people thought they did.

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: Tractatus, Ludwig Wittgenstein

Duration: 2 minutes, 17 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2014

Date story went live: 10 September 2014