Erich Segal

Erich Segal

My father became world famous - beloved by the reading public, pilloried by an envious academic community who believed that professors ought not to venture into popular culture. And I missed it all. But I know his novels, and I was lucky enough to know their extraordinary author. My father was such a gentle man, and as a result he wrote innocent, tender novels. They have his heart and soul and honesty and humour, and that combination, rarer than it should be, is alchemical. He was 30 when he sat down, one frigid, snow-silenced winter break in Cambridge, Massachusettes, to write Love Story. He was a young dynamic professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at Yale and he had just learned a former student of his from Harvard had lost his wife to cancer at twenty-five. My father, a few years older and still grieving the death of his own father, was consumed by the story. It is no coincidence that my father was a Classicist - the arc of his story is as old as time, and ever relevant. It's true of all his novels. Each takes on a broad, serious subject - religion, family, infidelity, medicine. science - but more than anything else they are very human stories; fast-paced, engaging plots about warm and vivid charatcters, real people we can root for. My father adored even the ancient roots of popular entertainment, and unlike many others in his field, understood that to move the broader public, to speak to the hearts of the people, requires an understanding of and a care for the everyman. It is to the everyman, in real life, that tragedy happens, and above all, love. By Francesca Segal
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