Distant Intimacy

Distant Intimacy: A Friendship in the Age of the Internet

Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 352
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  • Book Info
    Distant Intimacy
    Book Description:

    This delightful book of writer-to-writer correspondence joins a full shelf of volumes in the genre, yet it is perhaps the first set of such letters ever transacted via the Internet. Also unusual, at least for correspondents in the twenty-first century, is that Frederic Raphael and Joseph Epstein have never met, nor even spoken to each other. But what is most rare about this book is the authors' abundant talent for entertaining their readers, as much when the topic is grave as when it is droll.

    Raphael and Epstein agree to embark on a year-long correspondence, but other rules are few. As the weeks progress, their friendship grows, and each inspires the other. Almost any topic, large or small, is considered: they write of schooling, parents, wives, children, literary tastes, enmities, delights, and beliefs. They discuss their professional lives as writers, their skills or want of them, respective experiences with editors, producers, and actors, and, in priceless passages scattered throughout the letters, they assess such celebrated figures as Gore Vidal, Christopher Hitchens, Susan Sontag, Annie Leibowitz, Malcolm Gladwell, Harold Bloom, George Steiner, Harold Pinter, Isaiah Berlin, George Weidenfeld, and Robert Gottlieb, among many others. Epstein and Raphael capture a year in their letters, but more, they invite us into an intimate world where literature, cinema, and art are keys to self-discovery and friendship.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-19620-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Joseph Epstein

    Twenty-five, it may have been thirty years ago I wrote to my friend John Gross suggesting that we write a book together that would comprise letters on the literary and cultural life of our respective countries, England and the United States, which we would send to each other over the course of a year. John was then editor of theTimes Literary Supplementand I the editor of theAmerican Scholar. Our jobs, I felt at the time, may have given our observations and insights and animadversions additional cachet. I thought it a good idea – a better one, apparently,...

  4. Correspondence
    (pp. 1-316)

    Dear Joe,

    Well, we did the common festival, and the common turkey, and all was well; and that’s fine for a year, if we live so long. New Year’s Eve is going to be an oldsters’ dinner party, which is about the pace we can trot at. And so it goes. I am deep in the heart of Flavius Josephus, with notes as fat as the national debt (choose your country, it’s still fat), and beginning to see him in manageable form, that of the First Journalist, which takes us all the way to Karl Kraus, Robert Fisk and who...

  5. Index
    (pp. 317-336)