Thursday, January 21, 2010

Erich Segal: Poet, Historian, Novelist

I did not believe my eyes when I read that Erich Segal the author of Love Story had died in London. I remember reading this wonderful novel set in Harvard and Radcliffe which touched all the emotional and political chords of the 1960's USA: a more innocent and less politically correct time. I was in High School when I read Love Story and I was struck up the culture and openness of American University education, and that impression prompted me to go to the US for my graduate studies. From the first line: What can you say of a girl of 24 who died. That she was young and beautiful and that she love the Beatles, Beethoven and me" to the last this novel is a wonderful depiction of class in urban America. But done is an evocative manner. Of course the whole story was just a mushy romance, but the humanity was genuine.
I am sure that this scholar with a Ph D in Classics who taught Latin and Greek at Oxford was influenced by the great traditions of European tragedy particularly Sophocles who was in the fragility of human existence the inexorable hand of fortuna.
Some of the lines from this novel like Bob Dylan's "blowin in the wind" have become part of American popular culture.
Erich Segal deserves to be remembered as a great scholar and novelist.

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