Raphael, Frederic

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RAPHAEL, FREDERIC (1931– ), English novelist and scriptwriter. Born in Chicago of an American mother and a British father, Raphael was taken to England by his parents in 1938. His first novel, Obbligato, was published in 1956 and The Earlsdon Way, a study of suburban life, in 1958. Other books included Orchestra and Beginners (1967) and Like Men Betrayed (1970).

Jewish themes dominate two of Raphael's novels, The Limits of Love (1960) and Lindmann (1963). The former traces the development of three children of a lower-middle-class London Jewish shopkeeper from the years immediately after World War ii up to the Suez Campaign and the Hungarian Revolt in 1956. A family chronicle in form, this novel touches vividly upon a number of social themes. Lindmann is different in form and conception. It is a brilliant tour de force, based on the tragic fate of the ss Struma which sank in Turkish waters with its cargo of "illegal" immigrants during 1941.

Raphael won an Academy Award for best screenplay for the 1975 film Darling, one of many film scripts he wrote. Later books included Richard's Things (1973), California Time (1975), The Glittering Prizes (1976) – which became a popular television serial – and Heaven and Earth (1985). These too evince Raphael's perpetual preoccupation with Jewish themes such as antisemitism, the specter of the Holocaust, and the pull toward assimilation. He also wrote a biography, Somerset Maugham and His World (1977), and several books of short stories. Raphael wrote most of the screenplay for Stanley Kubrick's controversial last film, Eyes Wide Shut (1999), and a book about his dealings with the filmmaker, Eyes Wide Open: A Memoir of Stanley Kubrick (1999).


F.P.W. McDowell, in: Novel (Brown University), 2 (1969), 288–90.

[Shulamit Nardi /

Rohan Saxena (2nd ed.).]