Read The Journals: Volume I: 1949-1965 by John Fowles Free Online
Book Title: The Journals: Volume I: 1949-1965|
The author of the book: John Fowles
Date of issue: December 18th 2007
ISBN 13: 9781400044313
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 2.77 MB
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In 1963, John Fowles won international recognition with The Collector, his first published novel. In the years following—with the publication of The Magus, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, The Ebony Tower, and his other critically acclaimed works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry—Fowles took his place among the most innovative and important English novelists of our time. Now, with this first volume of his journals, which covers the years from 1949 to 1965, we see revealed not only the creative development of a great writer but also the deep connection between Fowles’s autobiographical experience and his literary inspiration.
Commencing in Fowles’s final year at Oxford, the journals in this volume chronicle the years he spent as a university lecturer in France; his experiences teaching school on the Greek island of Spetsai (which would inspire The Magus) and his love affair there with the married woman who would later become his first wife; and his return to England and his ongoing struggle to achieve literary success. It is an account of a life lived in total engagement with the world; although Fowles the novelist takes center stage, we see as well Fowles the nascent poet and critic, ornithologist and gardener, passionate naturalist and traveler, cinephile and collector of old books.
Soon after he fell in love with his first wife, Elizabeth, Fowles wrote in his journal, “She has asked me not to write about her in here. But I could not not write, loving her as I do. . . . What else I betrayed, I could not betray this diary.” It is that determined, unsparing honesty and forthrightness that imbues these journals with all the emotional power and narrative complexity of his novels. They are a revelation of both the man and the artist.
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Read information about the authorJohn Robert Fowles was born in Leigh-on-Sea, a small town in Essex. He recalled the English suburban culture of the 1930s as oppressively conformist and his family life as intensely conventional. Of his childhood, Fowles said "I have tried to escape ever since."
Fowles attended Bedford School, a large boarding school designed to prepare boys for university, from ages 13 to 18. After briefly attending the University of Edinburgh, Fowles began compulsory military service in 1945 with training at Dartmoor, where he spent the next two years. World War II ended shortly after his training began so Fowles never came near combat, and by 1947 he had decided that the military life was not for him.
Fowles then spent four years at Oxford, where he discovered the writings of the French existentialists. In particular he admired Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre, whose writings corresponded with his own ideas about conformity and the will of the individual. He received a degree in French in 1950 and began to consider a career as a writer.
Several teaching jobs followed: a year lecturing in English literature at the University of Poitiers, France; two years teaching English at Anargyrios College on the Greek island of Spetsai; and finally, between 1954 and 1963, teaching English at St. Godric's College in London, where he ultimately served as the department head.
The time spent in Greece was of great importance to Fowles. During his tenure on the island he began to write poetry and to overcome a long-time repression about writing. Between 1952 and 1960 he wrote several novels but offered none to a publisher, considering them all incomplete in some way and too lengthy.
In late 1960 Fowles completed the first draft of The Collector in just four weeks. He continued to revise it until the summer of 1962, when he submitted it to a publisher; it appeared in the spring of 1963 and was an immediate best-seller. The critical acclaim and commercial success of the book allowed Fowles to devote all of his time to writing.
The Aristos, a collection of philosophical thoughts and musings on art, human nature and other subjects, appeared the following year. Then in 1965, The Magus - drafts of which Fowles had been working on for over a decade - was published.
The most commercially successful of Fowles' novels, The French Lieutenant's Woman, appeared in 1969. It resembles a Victorian novel in structure and detail, while pushing the traditional boundaries of narrative in a very modern manner.
In the 1970s Fowles worked on a variety of literary projects--including a series of essays on nature--and in 1973 he published a collection of poetry, Poems.
Daniel Martin, a long and somewhat autobiographical novel spanning over 40 years in the life of a screenwriter, appeared in 1977, along with a revised version of The Magus. These were followed by Mantissa (1982), a fable about a novelist's struggle with his muse; and A Maggot (1985), an 18th century mystery which combines science fiction and history.
In addition to The Aristos, Fowles wrote a variety of non-fiction pieces including many essays, reviews, and forewords/afterwords to other writers' novels. He also wrote the text for several photographic compilations.
From 1968, Fowles lived in the small harbour town of Lyme Regis. His interest in the town's local history resulted in his appointment as curator of the Lyme Regis Museum in 1979, a position he filled for a decade.
Wormholes, a book of essays, was published in May 1998. The first comprehensive biography on Fowles, John Fowles: A Life in Two Worlds, was published in 2004, and the first volume of his journals appeared the same year (followed recently by volume two).
John Fowles died on November 5, 2005 after a long illness.
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