68 pages 2 hours read

John Fowles

The French Lieutenant's Woman

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1969

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Authorial Context: John Fowles and Postmodernism

Born on March 31, 1926, in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England, John Robert Fowles grew up in a family of strong artistic inclinations. His father, Robert Fowles, was a prosperous tobacco importer, while his mother, Gladys Richards, came from a family of artists. Fowles’ formative years were marked by an eclectic exposure to various forms of art, literature, and music, laying the foundation for his future creative endeavors. Fowles attended Bedford School and later New College, Oxford, where he studied French and learned about existentialism, a philosophical movement that would significantly influence his writing. After completing his studies, Fowles briefly worked as a teacher, which allowed him time to develop his writing style and philosophical perspectives.

Fowles’s literary career began with the publication of his debut novel, The Collector, in 1963. The novel’s unique narrative structure foreshadowed Fowles’s affinity for postmodernism, exploring themes of power, control, and the complexities of human desire. However, it was his second novel, The Magus (1965), that solidified Fowles’s reputation as a postmodern author. The story follows a young Englishman who becomes embroiled in a series of mysterious events on a Greek island. The novel employs unreliable narration, metafictional elements, and multiple endings, inviting readers to question the boundaries between fiction and truth.

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By John Fowles