John Fowles Popular Books

John Fowles Biography & Facts

John Robert Fowles (; 31 March 1926 – 5 November 2005) was an English novelist of international renown, critically positioned between modernism and postmodernism. His work was influenced by Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, among others. After leaving Oxford University, Fowles taught English at a school on the Greek island of Spetses, a sojourn that inspired The Magus (1965), an instant best-seller that was directly in tune with 1960s "hippy" anarchism and experimental philosophy. This was followed by The French Lieutenant's Woman (1969), a Victorian-era romance with a postmodern twist that was set in Lyme Regis, Dorset, where Fowles lived for much of his life. Later fictional works include The Ebony Tower (1974), Daniel Martin (1977), Mantissa (1982), and A Maggot (1985). Fowles's books have been translated into many languages, and several have been adapted as films. Biography Birth and family Fowles was born in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, England, the only son and elder child (a sister, Hazel, was born fifteen years later) of Robert John Fowles and Gladys May, née Richards. His father had trained as a lawyer- "clerking and reading in a barrister's chambers"- but worked for the family business, tobacco importer Allen & Wright, as his father Reginald had been a partner in the company; at Reginald's death, Robert was obliged to run the firm as his brother had died in the Battle of Ypres and there were young dependent half-siblings to provide for from his father's second marriage. Gladys was daughter of John Richards, a draper, and his wife Elizabeth, who was in service. They came from Cornwall to London, where John became chief buyer for a department store, and gave their daughter a "comfortable upbringing in Chelsea", but they relocated to Westcliff-on-Sea in Essex on account of the healthier climate following the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. On returning from the First World War in bad health, having served for three years as an officer in the Honourable Artillery Company, Robert Fowles met his future wife at a Westcliff-on-Sea tennis club. Early life and education During his childhood Fowles was attended by his mother and his cousin Peggy Fowles, who was 18 years his senior. He attended Alleyn Court Preparatory School, where a maternal uncle and aunt were teachers.In 1939, he won a place at Bedford School, where he remained a pupil until 1944. He became head boy and was an athletic standout: a member of the rugby football third team, the fives first team, and captain of the cricket team, for which he was a bowler.After leaving Bedford School, Fowles enrolled in a Naval Short Course at the University of Edinburgh and was prepared to receive a commission in the Royal Marines. He completed his training on 8 May 1945 and was then assigned to Okehampton Camp, Devon, for two years.After completing his military service in 1947, Fowles entered New College, Oxford, where he studied both French and German, although he stopped studying German and concentrated on French for his BA. Fowles was undergoing a political transformation. Upon leaving the marines, he wrote, "I ... began to hate what I was becoming in life—a British Establishment young hopeful. I decided instead to become a sort of anarchist."It was also at Oxford that Fowles first considered life as a writer, particularly after reading existentialists such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. He has also commented that the ambience of Oxford at the time, where such existentialist notions of "authenticity" and "freedom" were pervasive, influenced him. Though Fowles did not identify as an existentialist, their writing was motivated from a feeling that the world was absurd, a feeling he shared. Teaching career Fowles spent his early adult life as a teacher. His first year after Oxford was spent at the University of Poitiers. At the end of the year, he received two offers: one from the French department at Winchester, the other "from a ratty school in Greece," Fowles said: "Of course, I went against all the dictates of common sense and took the Greek job."In 1951, Fowles became an English master at the Anargyrios and Korgialenios School of Spetses on the Peloponnesian island of Spetses (also known as Spetsai). This opened a critical period in his life, as the island was where he met his future wife. Inspired by his experiences and feelings there, he used it as the setting of his novel The Magus (1966). Fowles was happy in Greece, especially outside the school. He wrote poems that he later published, and became close to his fellow expatriates. But during 1953, he and the other masters at the school were all dismissed for trying to institute reforms, and Fowles returned to England.On the island of Spetses, Fowles had developed a relationship with Elizabeth Christy, née Whitton, then married to another teacher, Roy Christy. That marriage was already ending because of Fowles. Although they returned to England at the same time, they were no longer in each other's company. It was during this period that Fowles began drafting The Magus. His separation from Elizabeth did not last long. On 2 April 1957, they were married. Fowles became stepfather to Elizabeth's daughter from her first marriage, Anna. For nearly ten years, he taught English as a foreign language to students from other countries at St. Godric's College, an all-girls establishment in Hampstead, London. Literary career In late 1960, though he had already drafted The Magus, Fowles began working on The Collector. He finished his first draft of The Collector in a month, but spent more than a year making revisions before showing it to his agent. Michael S. Howard, the publisher at Jonathan Cape, was enthusiastic about the manuscript. The book was published in 1963 and when the paperback rights were sold in the spring of that year, it was "probably the highest price that had hitherto been paid for a first novel," according to Howard. British reviewers found the novel to be an innovative thriller, and several American critics detected a serious promotion of existentialist thought. The success of The Collector meant that Fowles could stop teaching and devote himself full-time to a literary career. Film rights to the book were optioned and it was adapted as a feature film of the same name in 1965. Against the advice of his publisher, Fowles insisted that his second published book be The Aristos, a non-fiction collection of philosophy essays. Afterward, he set about collating all the drafts he had written of what would become his most studied work, The Magus.In 1965 Fowles left London, moving to Underhill, a farm on the fringes of Lyme Regis, Dorset. The isolated farm house became the model for The Dairy in the book Fowles was writing: The French Lieutenant's Woman (1969). Finding the farm too remote, ("total solitude gets a bit monotonous," Fowles remarked), in 1968 he and his wife moved to Belmont, in Lyme Regis (Belmont was formerly owned by Eleanor Coade), which Fo.... Discover the John Fowles popular books. Find the top 100 most popular John Fowles books.

Best Seller John Fowles Books of 2023

  • Writers Talking synopsis, comments

    Writers Talking

    Nigel Gray

    A compelling, and important social and literary document about ten British writers of note: Brian Aldiss Paul Bailey John Berger Malcolm Bradbury Dick Davis John Fowles Barry Hines...

  • John Fowles synopsis, comments

    John Fowles

    Peter Conradi

    John Fowles had gained great popularity as a contemporary novelist on both sides of the Atlantic. In this comprehensive study of his work, originally published in 1982, Peter Conra...

  • John Fowles synopsis, comments

    John Fowles

    James Acheson

    This vibrant collection of original essays sheds new light on all of Fowles' writings, with a special focus on The French Lieutenant's Woman as the most widely studied of F...

  • Deciphering Radical Ecology in Contemporary British Fiction synopsis, comments

    Deciphering Radical Ecology in Contemporary British Fiction

    Baturay Erdal

    This book indicates that postmodern literature might reveal much in common with radical environmental movements. It also offers discussions for how an ecological postmodern literar...

  • The Pretty Girl Killer synopsis, comments

    The Pretty Girl Killer

    Andrew Byrne

    This is the story of Christopher Wilder: the surfloving son of a decorated naval war hero born in the suburbs of Sydney, who became the most wanted man in America – a psychopathic ...

  • The Dark Side of the Sky synopsis, comments

    The Dark Side of the Sky

    Francesco Dimitri

    A pageturning literary fantasy filled with terror and wonder, set in a sunbaked Southern Italy, for fans of The Girls by Emma Cline, The Magus by John Fowles and The Great Believer...

  • Corpus Stylistics in Principles and Practice synopsis, comments

    Corpus Stylistics in Principles and Practice

    Yufang Ho

    In this book, Yufang Ho compares the text style difference between the two versions of John Fowles' The Magus, exemplifying the methodological principles and analytic practices...

  • John Fowles synopsis, comments

    John Fowles

    Jonathan Noakes & Margaret Reynolds

    The French Lieutenant's Woman, The Magus, A MaggotIn Vintage Living Texts, teachers and students will find the essential guide to the works of John Fowles. Vintage Living Texts...

  • Cellar Girl synopsis, comments

    Cellar Girl

    Josefina Rivera

    'I stood there for a moment, silently speaking to myself: Josefina, you will survive this. You are strong. You are a fighter. You adapt.'As a young mumofthree, Josefina Rivera was ...

  • The Tree synopsis, comments

    The Tree

    John Fowles

    The classic meditation on creativity and the natural world“For years I have carried this book. . . with me on travels to reread, ponder, envy. In prose of classic gravity, precisio...

  • When Things Get Dark synopsis, comments

    When Things Get Dark

    Ellen Datlow, Joyce Carol Oates, Josh Malerman, Carmen Maria Machado & Paul Tremblay

    The Stoker Awardwinning chilling anthology of 18 short stories in tribute to the genius of Shirley Jackson, collecting today’s best horror writers. Featuring Joyce Carol Oates, Jos...