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John Fowles: A Life in Two Worlds

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John Fowles: A Life in Two Worlds Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Based on exclusive access to John Fowles's fifty-year private diary, personal letters, and interviews — the first biography of the celebrated author of The French Lieutenant's Woman.

John Fowles has been compared to Henry James and Virginia Woolf. Christopher Lehmann-Haupt in the New York Times hailed him as "a remarkable novelist," and the novelist John Gardner described him as "the only writer in English who has the power, range, knowledge, and wisdom of a Tolstoy." Four of his works have been adapted for film, including the Academy Award?nominated The French Lieutenant's Woman.

Despite his immense critical and popular success, only now has Fowles found the capable biographer he has long deserved. In John Fowles: A Life in Two Worlds, Eileen Warburton provides a richly detailed portrait that emphasizes his emergence as one the twentieth century's most important writers. She chronicles his prewar childhood in a London commuter town and in wartime rural England, his Oxford education, and his apprentice years in Europe and London. From a lifetime of intimate correspondence, she narrates Fowles's thirty-seven-year love affair with the wife who inspired his most memorable women characters. And she follows the astonishing trajectory of Fowles's long writing career — from his spectacular debut novel, The Collector (1963), to the haunting The French Lieutenant's Woman (1969), through his later fiction, poems, essays, and translations.

Review:

"Granted full access by the reclusive author to his voluminous journals and personal papers, Warburton's first book is a sweeping, all-but-authorized biography that will surprise fans of The Magus with its account of Fowles's conventional background and entice those of The French Lieutenant's Woman with its intimate portrait of his marriage. Born into a thoroughly bourgeois English family in 1926, Fowles grew up in suburban Essex, was head boy at a prestigious public school, dutifully trained in the Marines during WWII and studied French at Oxford. Only when he went abroad did he begin to set himself apart and pursue writing. While teaching on the Greek isle of Spetsai, Fowles fatefully got involved with a colleague's wife, Elizabeth Christy, in a passionate affair that, Warburton cogently argues, was the central event of his emotional and creative life. Eventually Elizabeth obtained a divorce, and their subsequent marriage encompassed Fowles's novelistic career. Although Elizabeth destroyed most of her own papers in 1982, Warburton convincingly conveys her central role as not only Fowles's inspiration for his strong female characters but also his best reader and critic. Elizabeth often rankled at being an author's wife after the bestselling The Collector, but her critical involvement in The French Lieutenant's Woman proved essential. Fowles stopped seeking out her opinion on later books, but the two otherwise lived happily enough in Dorset. Elizabeth's death in 1990 compounded a stroke Fowles suffered earlier and closed one chapter on his creative life. Although the novelist's journals have not yet been published here in America, Warburton's thorough treatment of his multifaceted life will hold its own when they are. Agent, Melanie Jackson." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Illuminating....A hard-working life of a hard-working, justly honored writer, very well told." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"What we miss...is the triangulation of distance and a second voice: the snail trail along which the biographer struggles to patch what is missing and to reckon at what she cannot know. Biography is not just its subject but the journey toward it." Richard Eder, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"[An] exhilarating, exhaustive and entertaining biography." The Washington Post

Synopsis:

Based on exclusive access to Fowles's 50-year private diary, personal letters, and interviews — this is the first biography of the celebrated novelist of The French Lieutenant's Woman.

About the Author

Eileen Warburton is a scholar who lives in Newport, Rhode Island.

Table of Contents

Introduction · ix

chapter one: voices in the garden · 1

Leigh-on-Sea: 1926–1939

chapter two: the greenness at the heart of our growth · 21

Bedford, Devon: 1939–1944; Royal Marines: 1944–1946

chapter three: a larger world · 46

Oxford and Early Travels: 1947–1950

chapter four: in the land of illusions infantiles · 71

Poitiers: 1950–1951

chapter five: an island and greece · 89

Spetsai and Spain: 1952

chapter six: elizabeth and roy · 109

Greece: 1952–1953

chapter seven: anna · 133

London, Oxford, Birmingham, Ashridge: 1953–1954

chapter eight: the lily and the rose · 156

Ashridge and London: 1953–1954

chapter nine: the waiting room · 178

Apprenticeship in Hampstead: 1954–1957

chapter ten: a writer unpublished · 199

Hampstead: 1957–1962

chapter eleven: straight to the top of parnassus · 223

London, Greece, New York: 1962–1963

chapter twelve: the savage eye · 244

London, Hollywood: 1963–1965

chapter thirteen: the fox at bay · 262

Highgate: 1964–1965

chapter fourteen: the domaine · 279

Underhill Farm: 1965–1968

chapter fifteen: cast out · 306

Belmont House: 1969–1971

chapter sixteen: the hedgehog · 331

Belmont House: 1970–1974

chapter seventeen: on the island of daniel martin · 356

Belmont and Other Islands: 1973–1977

chapter eighteen: the consolations of the past · 381

Lyme Regis: 1977–1981

chapter nineteen: here be dragons · 407

1982–1990

chapter twenty: tendresse · 438

Domaine perdu and Afterward: 1990–2000

Notes · 463

Index · 495

Product Details

ISBN:
9780670032839
Subtitle:
A Life in Two Worlds
Author:
Warburton, Eileen
Publisher:
Viking Adult
Location:
New York
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
20th century
Subject:
Novelists, English
Subject:
General Biography
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback
Series Volume:
1365
Publication Date:
March 25, 2004
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
528
Dimensions:
9.42x6.20x1.67 in. 2.07 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

John Fowles: A Life in Two Worlds Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$11.50 In Stock
Product details 528 pages Viking Books - English 9780670032839 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Granted full access by the reclusive author to his voluminous journals and personal papers, Warburton's first book is a sweeping, all-but-authorized biography that will surprise fans of The Magus with its account of Fowles's conventional background and entice those of The French Lieutenant's Woman with its intimate portrait of his marriage. Born into a thoroughly bourgeois English family in 1926, Fowles grew up in suburban Essex, was head boy at a prestigious public school, dutifully trained in the Marines during WWII and studied French at Oxford. Only when he went abroad did he begin to set himself apart and pursue writing. While teaching on the Greek isle of Spetsai, Fowles fatefully got involved with a colleague's wife, Elizabeth Christy, in a passionate affair that, Warburton cogently argues, was the central event of his emotional and creative life. Eventually Elizabeth obtained a divorce, and their subsequent marriage encompassed Fowles's novelistic career. Although Elizabeth destroyed most of her own papers in 1982, Warburton convincingly conveys her central role as not only Fowles's inspiration for his strong female characters but also his best reader and critic. Elizabeth often rankled at being an author's wife after the bestselling The Collector, but her critical involvement in The French Lieutenant's Woman proved essential. Fowles stopped seeking out her opinion on later books, but the two otherwise lived happily enough in Dorset. Elizabeth's death in 1990 compounded a stroke Fowles suffered earlier and closed one chapter on his creative life. Although the novelist's journals have not yet been published here in America, Warburton's thorough treatment of his multifaceted life will hold its own when they are. Agent, Melanie Jackson." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Illuminating....A hard-working life of a hard-working, justly honored writer, very well told."
"Review" by , "What we miss...is the triangulation of distance and a second voice: the snail trail along which the biographer struggles to patch what is missing and to reckon at what she cannot know. Biography is not just its subject but the journey toward it."
"Review" by , "[An] exhilarating, exhaustive and entertaining biography."
"Synopsis" by , Based on exclusive access to Fowles's 50-year private diary, personal letters, and interviews — this is the first biography of the celebrated novelist of The French Lieutenant's Woman.
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