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John Fowles (1926–2005)

Autor(a) de The French Lieutenant's Woman

45+ Works 23,872 Membros 416 Reviews 107 Favorited

About the Author

John Fowles was born in Essex, England, in 1926. He attended the University of Edinburgh for a short time, left to serve in the Royal Marines, and then returned to school at Oxford University, where he received a B.A. in French in 1950. Fowles taught English in France and Greece, as well as at St. mostrar mais Godric's College in London. Although the main theme in all Fowles's fiction is freedom, there are few other similarities in his books. He has deliberately chosen to explore a different style or genre for each novel: The Collector, his first novel, is an intellectual thriller; The Magus is an adolescent learning novel, tracing the emotional development of the central character; Daniel Martin tries, in the modernist style, to depict psychological reality; Mantissa is a comedic allegory that takes place entirely inside the narrator's head; Maggot combines mystery, science fiction, and history; and The Ebony Tower is a collection of short stories. Fowles explored yet another genre, historical fiction, with his best-known novel, The French Lieutenant's Woman, which received the W. H. Smith Literary Award in 1970 and was made into a movie, starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons, in 1981. An intriguing feature of this novel is that it has three different endings. Fowles's nonfiction includes Aristos: A Self Portrait in Ideas; Poems; and Wormholes: Essays and Other Occasional Writings. In addition, he has written the text for several books of photographs, including The Tree, for which Fowles received the Christopher Award in 1982. He died on November 5, 2005 at the age of 79. (Bowker Author Biography) mostrar menos
Image credit: from Lifeinlegacy.com


Obras de John Fowles

The French Lieutenant's Woman (1969) 6,531 cópias
The Collector (1963) 5,050 cópias
The Magus: a revised version (1977) 4,847 cópias
The Magus (1965) 1,457 cópias
A Maggot (1985) 1,393 cópias
The Ebony Tower (1974) 1,243 cópias
Daniel Martin (1977) 1,167 cópias
Mantissa (1982) 700 cópias
The Aristos (1964) 368 cópias
The Tree (1979) 321 cópias
The Enigma of Stonehenge (1980) 122 cópias
Islands (1978) 62 cópias
Shipwreck (1974) 41 cópias
Poems (1973) 28 cópias
New Writing 9 (2000) — Editor — 16 cópias
Lyme Regis Camera (1990) 8 cópias
The Bedside Guardian 32 (1983) — Prefácio — 6 cópias
Selected Poems (2012) 5 cópias
Cinderella (1974) 5 cópias
Tiempo de cerezas (1995) 3 cópias
Magus 3 cópias
Of Memoirs and Magpies (1983) 2 cópias
Behind The Magus (1994) 2 cópias
Mušica (1989) 1 exemplar(es)
The Collector / The Magnus (2004) 1 exemplar(es)
Poor Koko (1974) 1 exemplar(es)
Medieval Lyme Regis (1984) 1 exemplar(es)
The Man Who Made Wine 1 exemplar(es)
Lyme Worthies (2000) 1 exemplar(es)
Eliduc 1 exemplar(es)
The Cloud 1 exemplar(es)

Associated Works

The Book of Ebenezer Le Page (1981) — Introdução, algumas edições947 cópias
The Penguin Book of Modern British Short Stories (1989) — Contribuinte — 429 cópias
After London: Or, Wild England (1885) — Introdução, algumas edições360 cópias
Midaq Alley / The Thief and the Dogs / Miramar (1947) — Introdução — 316 cópias
Ourika (1823) — Tradutor, algumas edições242 cópias
Granta 86: Film (2004) — Contribuinte — 205 cópias
The Pleasure of Reading (1992) — Contribuinte — 188 cópias
Sixteen Short Novels (1985) — Compositor — 177 cópias
The French Lieutenant's Woman [1981 film] (1981) — Original book — 128 cópias
Trial and Error: An Oxford Anthology of Legal Stories (1998) — Contribuinte — 24 cópias
Hawker of Morwenstow: Portrait of an Eccentric Victorian (1975) — Prefácio, algumas edições20 cópias
Trees: A Celebration (1989) — Contribuinte — 13 cópias
John Aubrey's Monumenta Britannica. Parts One and Two (1982) — Editor, algumas edições11 cópias
The Magus [1968 film] (1968) — Original book — 10 cópias
The West Country Book (1981) — Contribuinte — 6 cópias
Monumenta Britannica, or, A miscellany of British antiquities (1980) — Editor, algumas edições5 cópias
The Ebony Tower [1984 TV film] — Autor — 5 cópias


1001 (155) 1001 books (146) 20th century (441) 20th century literature (80) anthology (98) British (316) British fiction (120) British literature (339) classic (125) classics (157) England (271) English (202) English literature (353) essays (123) fantasy (92) fiction (3,620) Fowles (87) Greece (178) historical (75) historical fiction (347) horror (130) John Fowles (88) kidnapping (75) literary fiction (105) literature (493) mystery (131) non-fiction (125) novel (863) obsession (81) own (97) paperback (86) philosophy (72) read (276) romance (140) short stories (177) thriller (146) to-read (1,305) UK (80) unread (206) Victorian (99)

Conhecimento Comum

Nome padrão
Fowles, John
Nome de batismo
Fowles, John Robert
Data de nascimento
Data de falecimento
País (para mapa)
England, UK
Local de nascimento
Leigh upon Sea, Essex, England, Uk
Local de falecimento
Lyme Regis, Dorset, England
Locais de residência
Leighton-at-Sea, Essex, GB
Lyme Regis, Dorset, GB
Bedford School, Bedford, England
Oxford University (New College)
Times 50 Top Writers Since 1945 (30)
Pequena biografia
John Fowles, geboren in 1926, studeerde aan de universiteit van Oxford, waar hij later Frans doceerde. Op zesendertigjarige leeftijd werd hij plotseling beroemd door het succes van zijn eerste roman The Collector (1963). Zijn faam werd nog bevestigd door de verfilming van dit eerste boek en door de twee lijvige romans die volgden: The Magus (De magiër, 1966) en The French Lietenant’s Woman (Het liefje van de Franse luitenant, 1969). Vooral dit laatste boek bezorgde Fowles in de Verenigde Staten een ongekend grote populariteit. In 1974 verscheen Fowles’ tot nu toe laatste boek, de novellenbundel The Ebony Tower (De ebbehouten toren). Fowles woont tegenwoordig in de Zuid-engelse badplaats Lyme Regis, waar zich ook een groot gedeelte van Het liefje van de Franse luitenant afspeelt (flaptekst).



June Group Read: The Magus (John Fowles) em 75 Books Challenge for 2016 (Julho 2016)
Group Read, November 2015: The Collector em 1001 Books to read before you die (Novembro 2015)
1001 Group Read - June, 2013: The French Lieutenant's Woman em 1001 Books to read before you die (Novembro 2013)
Fowles' The Magus em Someone explain it to me... (Março 2010)


The Magus is hard to describe as the story morphs from one apparent genre to another as it progresses. There is no action to speak of but a lot of storytelling and exposition that is more or less not what it at first appears. The plot is simple enough, the protagonist, Nicholas Urfe, travels to a remote small Greek island to act as the English teacher in an academy located there. He knows it has an unusually high turnover rate of English instructors (who’ve all been English) but that is chalked up solely to the isolation and remoteness of the island. Once there, the island is described in several dreamlike sequences as he wanders the place in his off time. There is probably only a scene or two inside the school in the novel.
This initial fifth of the novel struck me as almost as if it were a horror setup and gave me strange fiction vibes ala Robert Aickman through to the second fifth of the book. The third fifth reads more like a psychological thriller (with no real incidents or action), and the fourth part becomes a horror story where the reader dreads what The Masque (appearing as a traditional satanic horror cult) is going to do with the protagonist, then the last fifth becomes a detective story where the detective is seeking a vague sense of closure though he tells himself it is a mission of vengeance then becomes a mission to reunite with his girlfriend. The protagonist has a real problem with having vague motives and when his motives are clear, he often misleads himself and thus the reader.
When it came to that toxic relationship, between Nicholas Urfe and his estranged girlfriend Allison, I have to admit, my reading sped up so I could get through it. It was fine as a contrast to the strangeness of the island when they took a trip to the mainland of Greece, but it tended to drag after a while. I am also aware that this is a setup to get the reader to spend time with her before Urfe gets the news that she has committed suicide.
Nicholas has a major flaw which is pushed into his face on a few occasions, misogyny facilitated by his sadboi act, he even admits to it at one point early in the book, but he simply does not feel or see anything wrong with his conduct even while contemplating his toxic ex-girlfriend’s purported suicide. He remains unrepentant and it is this flaw that The Masque (as he refers to the mysterious cult in the latter parts of the novel) exploits to break into his life. Instead of thinking over how his own major flaw let these people into his life, he goes on a mission of discovery with the hint of revenge in his motive in the last fifth of the book. This does set the novel up for a disappointing ending.
The main incident that kicks everything into motion is the old recluse on the island occupying the sole mansion on the island, Maurice Conchis. The man is spurned by the natives and the school staff as he is a known nazi collaborator from when they had occupied the island and murdered dozens. Urfe seeks him out of pure curiosity and is lured by a beautiful young woman by the name of Julie, her name is later revealed to be Lilly after she gives him the names of the goddess(es) she portrays in Conchis’ plays put on solely for his and Urfe’s eyes. Later, Conchis seems to want to bring the saying All the World’s A Stage to life with performance, insanely elaborate trickery, alcohol, drugs, and hypnotism. It seems that there is a theme here with his trying to render Nicholas into a pawn within his game of masks, performances, and symbols coupled with his First and Second World War recollections. This is especially so when Nicholas is notified of Allison’s supposed suicide (another “performance” for and at his expense) forces him to pin all of his romantic hopes onto the actress Lilly.
Conchis’ story of the First World War was fantastic, I never thought that I would contemplate the stench of mud and burst bowels on the battlefield. The brutality of the story of what “really happened” (maybe) on the island during the Second World War was shocking and very graphic. I loved it.
The motifs of this expansive novel feed into the theme, the duplicity of the twins, Julie/Lilly and June/Rose, hired by Conchis to help conduct his “experiment in mystification”, the repeated references to roles, performance, and masks, and the mask-wearing cult dubbed The Masque in the fourth fifth of the book. Lilly even turns up with another name and guise during the cult meeting scene as well. Nicholas Urfe’s character flaws and those contrary to those of the members of the cult as he tracks them down in the last fifth all sum up to a certain theme. The theme is that life is but a series of performances and the truth lies covered in layers of masks and symbolism. A concurrent theme also found in the story is that of ambiguity. Vagueness is conducive to life and truth bringing only death. It is stated somewhere in the later third of the book that “…an answer is a form of death.” Very much like Schrodinger’s Cat, it is both alive and dead until you open the box revealing the truth.
Strangely, The Masque does seem to hold a much more progressive attitude than the protagonist especially when he tries to shame Lilly’s mother by bringing up her having sex with Joe because he’s black. The mother says that Joe is a fine man and educated as well as putting Nicholas to shame for his racism. This duplicity, a progressive cult that puts unsuspecting men through damaging psychological experiments as opposed to their victim who holds, especially today, outmoded ways of thinking such as misogyny and racism feeds into the revelation of truth in the theme. After these revelations of character, these traits become an unchanging cemented component of the character as opposed to the cult members who ultimately reveal their true identities, but they retain a fluidity drawn from their unreliableness. At least, until they tell him the game is over near the end of the book.
The remaining fifth of the book goes on too long, it feels like the story is just caught in a holding pattern just going around in tiny circles. This does allow the reader to feel the buildup of Nicholas’ frustration and impatience in seeing Allison again, but it just felt like the author had no idea how to wrap this thing up. I have to say that I was not satisfied with the ending of the story at all.
Would I recommend this one? Well, with some caveats. If you want to sink into and immerse yourself in a long, involved story, then this is your lucky day, if not, then stay far away from it. If you’re looking for a horror story or even a thriller, this is not it. This story is built from dreamlike scenery, long conversations, and the contemplations of the protagonist. Otherwise, have at it, I did really enjoy the first half of the novel, but it seems to me that it should have ended soon after the trial of the masque. The last fifth of the book is a massive dénouement. The ending made me comment, “That’s it?”
Favorite Quotes:
“I love being humiliated. I love having a girl I like trampling over every human affection and decency. Every time that stupid old bugger tells me another lie I feel thrills of ectasy [sic] run down my spine.” I shouted. “Now where the hell am I?” [pg.442-443]
The fear I felt was the same old fear; not of the appearance, but of the reason behind the appearance. It was not the mask I was afraid of, because in our century we are too inured by science fiction and too sure of science reality ever to be terrified of the supernatural again; but of what lay behind the mask. The eternal source of all fear, all horror, all evil, man himself. [pg.448]
Waiting for the train, I got more drunk. A man at the station bar managed to make me understand that an indigo-blue hilltop under the lemon-green sky to the west was where the poet Horace had had his farm. I drank to the Sabine hill; better one Horace than ten thousand Saint Benedicts; better one poem than ten thousand sermons. Much later I realized that perhaps Leverrier, in this case, would have agreed; because he too had chosen exile; because there are times when silence is a poem. [pg.521]
… (mais)
Ranjr | outras 29 resenhas | Feb 18, 2024 |
Had I highlighted the thought-provoking and important passages in this book as I read it, it would be almost fully colored. But in a way, that works against itself: there's too much worth remembering to remember much at all. So this will bear re-reading someday. (Fortunately, it is a slim volume.)
The other thing that makes it so hard to summon up the crystals of philosophy is Fowles prose. It weaves and writhes like a honeysuckle vine. I had to read almost every sentence multiple times, dropping out parenthetical clauses, in order to firmly connect subject to predicate to object. Whether this is a feature or a bug, I am unsure.… (mais)
Treebeard_404 | outras 8 resenhas | Jan 23, 2024 |
Story: 2 / 10
Characters: 5
Setting: 7
Prose: 7

"Tell me a story." That's my reading philosophy. I pick up a book, either because it was recommended or won an annual genre award, but I don't read the description. I simply trust the author to reveal the story to me. I've gone years without reading the back of the book. After this book, that era is over.

Daniel Martin was the second book I've read by John Fowles. A work colleague recommended The Magus and I absolutely loved it. He then went on to recommend to Daniel Martin. Both books have fairly loose plots. While the latter does have significant events that result from the character relationships, the former doesn't. Basically nothing happens in Daniel Martin. Nothing in 700 pages. Unforgivable.

This was a long book to hate. Frankly, I'm scarred, afraid of returning to another John Fowles book in the future. Worse than that, I'm also going to have to start reading book descriptions. I would have known not to approach Daniel Martin if I had read the lacklustre description. Live and learn.
… (mais)
MXMLLN | outras 7 resenhas | Jan 12, 2024 |
8/10: Definitely one of the best recommendations I've received (Thanks, Rob West).
Brilliant prose and excellent pacing, the book takes off fast and continues an incredible pace. The mysteries are compelling and the romance captivating. The only weak point was part of the plot. The ending relies on all readers agreeing about The LOVE, which I clearly didn't. Not a big point and the ending still works.
Definitely recommended for you, by me...
MXMLLN | outras 88 resenhas | Jan 12, 2024 |


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