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Ifs and Buts
Personal Terms V
RRP: GBP 14.95
ISBN: 978 1 847778 81 9
Series: Personal Terms
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Published: August 2011
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback, eBook (Kindle), eBook (PDF)
Dubbing was made a mild pleasure by the vanity of authority. A pianist who had to be a member of the Musicians’ Union played the theme from Beethoven’s Ninth with two fingers in order to provide the final false note which witty ignorance demanded. ‘E flat all right?’ ‘Fine,’ I said, as if I had something more chic in mind, but had agreed to compromise.
June 1978: Frederic Raphael is in a studio for the dubbing of his television play Something’s Wrong, and a routine moment is captured by his wry alertness to vanities and foibles. Ifs and Buts continues the sharply stylish extracts from the journal of time spent, in the words of The Sunday Times, with ‘one eye on life’s greasy pole and the other on the eternal verities’. Both, for Raphael, are subjects for curiosity, scepticism and entertainment. Ifs and Buts includes encounters with David Garnett and Rebecca West, with their still-vivid memories of H.G. Wells and Lytton Strachey, D.H. Lawrence and Bloomsbury; an account of working with Diana Dors, and of not working with Diane Keaton. Alongside are darker reflections on public and private life, on what it is to be a Jew, on terrorism and the cruelties within relationships.
Cover painting: © the estate of Sarah Raphael 2011
Cover design: StephenRaw.com
Praise for Personal Terms
Frederic Raphael's notebooks reveal the 'chip of ice' that, according to Graham Greene, lurks in the heart of a writer... Spiky, acute and immodest, Raphael's notebooks offer stimulating entertainment. For an insight into the writer's mind, you'll find nothing better - Christopher Hirst, the Independent
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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