David Collard

A Fine Bromance

Distant Intimacy: A Friendship in the Age of the Internet

By

Every December Private Eye’s book pages feature the Frederic Raphael Memorial Prize, an award given to the writer who makes the most obscure or pretentious selection as their Book of the Year. In 2012 the honours went to Raphael himself. The book he had chosen was Richard Seaford’s Cosmology and the Polis: The Social Construction of Space and Time in the Tragedies of Aeschylus, a scholarly account of the role of ritual and money in the development of the Greek city-state. It’s unlikely to trouble Fifty Shades in the Kindle charts, and is a perfectly reasonable choice for an accomplished classicist. Why the sniggering?

Raphael does tend to brag, but then he has plenty to brag about. He’s very clever, very accomplished and very successful, and if not quite a national treasure he’s something much rarer in our culture, and to be valued more – a national asset. He also beats Lord Gnome at his own game, referring drolly in the first of the emails he exchanges with Joseph Epstein, now published in Distant Intimacy, to a recent appearance in ‘the TLS international show-off selection’.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,
    • 'Munch’s later works show us a man liberated from the torments that gave rise to some of the best-known early works… ,
    • 'We read from left to right and from start to finish. Or do we?' Stuart Hannabus considers the merits of reading i… ,