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Last Post

Frederic Raphael

Cover of Last Post by Frederic Raphael
10% off all versions
Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, American, Film, Memoirs
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (522 pages)
(Pub. Jul 2023)
£30.00 £27.00
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Jul 2023)
£24.00 £21.60
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  • Description
  • Author
  • Reviews
  • A The Tablet Book of the Year

    Last Post
    has a double life; it both sounds for the gallant fallen and recalls what spurred freelance journalists, in all those yesterdays before e-mail, to get their copy in the pillar-box by deadline time. Frederic Raphael's compendium, written in the lively equivalent of the French epistolary second person singular, is a rare mixture of loud salutes, occasional raspberries and affectionate farewells.

    Its intimacy delivers frankness that formal biography, however plumped with proper sources, seldom achieves. To John Schlesinger, '“Fuck 'em all dear,” you used to say. And God knows, you did your best.'; Ludwig Wittgenstein saying 'What do you know about philosophy, Russell, what have you ever known?'; Cyril Connolly to William Somerset Maugham who was complaining about his lack of true lovers, '...then although the room was chilly, no one cared to poke poor Willie'; 'You bloody fool,' the first words said by a venerable professor to George Steiner.

    As the parade goes by, Last Post becomes what classicists call a 'prosopography'. Raphael's own versatility shows up in the varieties of tone and vocabulary in long letters of tribute to the two Stanleys Kubrick and Donen, Ken Tynan, Leslie Bricusse, Tom Maschler, Dorothy Nimmo the known and the less known but no less valued; finally, above all, in farewell to his beloved daughter Sarah.
    Frederic Raphael was born in Chicago in 1931 and educated at Charterhouse and St John’s College, Cambridge. His novels include The Glittering Prizes (1976), A Double Life (1993), Coast to Coast (1998) and Fame and Fortune (2007); he has also written short stories and biographies of Somerset Maugham and Byron. Frederic ... read more
    'Frederic Raphael leaves unlocked a virtual postbox of unsent letters. Insistently addressing "you", the real subject is "I". He beards old friends, family, collaborators and antagonists; settling scores; mentioning his Oscar once or twice; allowing his wit free rein.'
    Brian Morton, The Tablet
    'This book contains tremendous erudition and intelligence, blistering scorn for mediocrities and frauds, tenderness for a few favourites and irony at its most shapely and elegant.'
    Richard Davenport-Hines, Literary Review
    'Raphael's intelligence and acerbic wit are undiminished... Whether you've lived through most of the years covered in Last Post or not you'll be bound to find these letters to the dead who cannot answer back immensely entertaining.'
    Brian Martin, The Spectator
    Praise for Frederic Raphael 'A hilarious and disillusioned page-turner.'
    Peter Green, The TLS
     'Against the Stream offers many insights into Raphael's "double life". An American who made his career in Britain. A Jew who went to Charterhouse and Cambridge. A Hollywood script-doctor who read Ancient Greek for fun. Vain, sharp-tongued, but the sort of truth-teller Britain needed then and needs now.'
    David Herman, Standpoint

      'In these notebooks, Raphael shows himself alert to every vanity but his own, a shortcoming that, far from repelling a reader, becomes part and parcel of the their fascination. He is one of those writers who most reveals himself in his acerbic anatomy of others.'
    Anthony Quinn, Telegraph
       'Aphoristic, lapidary and sumptuously reflective by turns, Personal Terms is a joy to read both for Raphael's prose and mental powers. It is a book of iridescent intelligence, seductive charm, urbane temper and unflagging delight - indeed a minor masterpiece.'
    Times Literary Supplement

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