Erich Segal was born in America in 1937, and studied at Harvard University. Love Story, his first novel, was written in 1970. It became a world-wide bestseller, with over 21 million copies sold in 33 languages. A film of the book was made in the same year. This was also an immediate success. It had seven Oscar nominations, and won Segal a Golden Globe award for his film script. Segal wrote many other bestsellers, and several of them have been filmed. One of his most well-known films is the Beatles´ Yellow Submarine. In 1977 he wrote Oliver´s Story, which is about what happens to Oliver Barrett after Jenny´s death. Doctors was another bestseller written by Segal.
As well as these popular novels, he wrote many serious works about Latin and Greek. Erich Segal died of a heart attack on January 17, 2010, and was buried in London.
Oliver Barrett the Fourth is a big Harvard sportsman. He’s rich, he‘s clever, he’s good with girls. Jennifer Cavilleri is a music student. She’s beautiful, she’s clever … and she thinks that big Harvard sportsmen are stupid. When they meet, they fall in love. But is any love without problems? Oliver’s father (Oliver Barrett the Third) is a rich banker in Boston, and Jenny’s father is a poor baker in Rhode Island. This is a story about different kinds of loving… Chapter 1 Stupid and rich, clever and poor
Task 1 – look at the questions below and try to answer them. The characters often do not say something openly because they think that other people understand or they can also mean something else. Look at the lines or read the text again, if necessary. You can also discuss the answers with a partner.
1) In line 6, the man says: “I chose her”. Why doesn´t he tell us more about the girl?
2) In line 13, he says that he will ask for the book politely. Does he really do this? How does she feel about his behaviour?
3) She calls him ‘Preppie’ several times. Why?
4) From line 17 onwards, she never says that he is stupid directly. How does she do it?
5) How do you feel about the two characters? Can you describe their personalities?
6) Read through the dialogue with a partner once (skip the unnecessary lines). Then, read through it again with the attitudes and personality of the two characters.
Task 2 – read the next part of the text. It is the continuation of the scene above. Then check your answer No. 5 – will you change the descriptions of the characters?
I got the book that I wanted, didn’t I? And she couldn’t leave the library until closing time. So I was able to study the book for a good long time. I got an A in my exam the next day.
I gave the girl’s legs an A too, when she came out from behind the library desk. We went to a coffee shop and I ordered coffee for both of us.
‘I’m Jennifer Cavilleri,’she said. ‘I’m American, but my family came from Italy. I’m studying music.’
‘My name is Oliver,’ I said.
‘Is that your first or your last name?’ she asked.
‘First. My other name is Barrett.’
‘Oh,’ she said. ‘Like Elizabeth Barrett the writer?’
‘Yes,’ I said. ‘No relation.’
I was pleased that she hadn’t said, ‘Barrett, like Barrett Hall?’ That Barrett is a relation of mine. Barrett Hall is a large building at Harvard University. My great-grandfather gave it to Harvard long ago, and I am deeply ashamed of it.
She was silent. She sat there, half-smiling at me. I looked at her notebooks.
‘Sixteenth-century music?’ I said. ‘That sounds difficult.’
‘It’s too difficult for you, Preppie,’ she said coldly.
Why was I letting her to talk to me like this? Didn’t she read the university magazine? Didn’t she know who I was?
‘Hey, don’t you know who I am?’
‘Yes,’ she answered. ‘You’re the man who owns Barrett Hall.’
‘I don’t own Barrett Hall. My great-grandfather gave it to Harvard, that’s all.’
‘So that’s why his not-so-great grandson could get into Harvard so easily!’
I was angry now. ‘Jenny, if I’m no good, why did you want me to invite you for coffee?’
She looked straight into my eyes and smiled. ‘I like your body,’ she said.
Later, as I walked with Jenny to her dormitory, I made my winning move.
‘Listen, Friday night is the Dartmouth hockey match. I’d like you to come.’
These Radcliffe girls, they really care about sport. ‘And why should I come to a stupid ice-hockey match?’ ‘Because I’m playing,’ I answered. ‘For which team?’ she said.