Going Up: To Cambridge and Beyond – A Writer’s Memoir by Frederic Raphael - review by Jeremy Lewis

Jeremy Lewis

Glittering Entries

Going Up: To Cambridge and Beyond – A Writer’s Memoir


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Early on in what is, I hope, the first instalment of his autobiography, Frederic Raphael describes how, as a schoolboy at Charterhouse, he disqualified himself from sitting for a closed scholarship to Christ Church, Oxford. A visiting clergyman, preaching in the school chapel, asked the congregation to imagine the young Jesus, trained as a carpenter, trying to sell his work to a shopkeeper in Nazareth – who, ‘being a Jew, would give him as little for it as possible’. Rather than storm out of the chapel, banging the door behind him, Raphael wrote to the visiting cleric; his letter was forwarded to the headmaster, who decided that such objectionable behaviour (and his refusal to apologise) debarred Raphael from taking the scholarship exam. It’s good to know that Raphael won a major scholarship in classics to St John’s, Cambridge, soon after, but he goes on to say that, in the summer of 1945, ‘after the recent discovery

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