We study the coupling induced by retardation effects when two plasmon-resonant nanoparticles are interacting. This coupling leads to an additional resonance, the strength of which depends on a subtle balance between particle separation and size. The scattering cross section and the near field associated with this coupled resonance are studied for cylindrical particles in air and in water. Implications for surface-enhanced Raman scattering and nano-optics are discussed. (C) 2001 Optical Society of America.