Erich Segal

Erich Segal - even he was shocked by the popularity of Love Story.

Erich Segal Discusses The Phenomenon Known As Love Story – 1970 – Past Daily Weekend Pop Chronicles.

Erich Segal
Erich Segal – even he was shocked by the popularity of Love Story.

– Book Beat – Host: Robert Cromie – guest: Erich Segal – August 28, 1970 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Love Story – if you were anywhere remotely near the 1970s you probably heard of the name and heard of the author Erich Segal. It was a full-blown, over-the-top romance novel that caught many by surprise, especially those hardened readers who found themselves weeping uncontrollably at the end. It was just that kind of book.

But this was the Cynical 70s – people weren’t supposed to like old fashioned love stories – we were knee-deep in the Vietnam War and protesting a whole palate of injustices; social, racial, sexual – the gamut.

So here comes this book – about young love and the fleeting nature of life and the wrenching death of one of the protagonists; the one you liked from the beginning. Unbearable sadness and loss – something we all thought we were too “cool” and too “detached” to relate to. We were so wrong.

And nobody was more surprised by the sudden popularity than Erich Segal. Segal, who was an English Professor, whose previous book was about Roman Comedy (Roman as in Cesar) and who, to his credit, wrote Yellow Submarine. Nowhere in his CV was listed anything like “popular romance writer” – but he was irrevocably linked from 1970 on.

In this episode of the NET series Bookbeat, host Robert Cromie asks Erich Segal about this phenomenon, how did Love Story come about – his inspirations for writing it – his models for characters and his initial reactions. Critics were not kind – Yale, where he was Professor, denied him tenure and students tried to pressure the University to eject Segal from campus. Twenty-one million copies later, Erich Segal became a worldwide celebrity. Something he never planned on and something he certainly didn’t think would come as the result of Love Story. But it did.

Here is that interview with Erich Segal, right as the popularity of Love Story is unfolding, from August 28, 1970.

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