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The Necessity of Anti-Semitism

Frederic Raphael

Cover Picture of The Necessity of Anti-Semitism
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • The essays and causeries gathered in this collection of Frederic Raphael's provocative and corrective 'occasional writings' are not all on Jewish themes. But the author is undeniably a Jew, a sceptical Jew of Anglo-American parents and largely European experience and habit. He is a liberal, middle-class novelist and screen-writer for whom modern literary and social history is a puzzlement demanding close analytical attention. As the title, with its wry allusion to Shelley, suggests, it is impossible to forget the past. Raphael is, after all, an accomplished classicist. But how shall we make 'reasonable' sense of a world that has proven and proves unreasonable time after time? By close attention to facts and what they can mean, to the written word and what it can mean and conceal; by a refusal to acquiesce in inhumanity. 'Art', he declares, `is the only means by which we can combine truth with a certain hope.'

    The essays, in a wonderfully readable and persuasive way, seek to indicate how a humane secular society can and must retain its roots in what it has perforce to transcend.
    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
    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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