Wormholes: Essays and Occasional Writings

Overview

John fowles's popularity and his place in the English literary canon have been assured for several decades. His novels The Magus and The French Lieutenant's Woman became instant classics upon publication. Here, with Wormholes, for the first time is a representative gathering of Fowles's fugitive and intensely personal nonfiction writings: essays, literary criticism, commentaries, autobiographical statements, memoirs, and musings. It is a delicious sampling of the various matters that have plagued, preoccupied, or...

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Overview

John fowles's popularity and his place in the English literary canon have been assured for several decades. His novels The Magus and The French Lieutenant's Woman became instant classics upon publication. Here, with Wormholes, for the first time is a representative gathering of Fowles's fugitive and intensely personal nonfiction writings: essays, literary criticism, commentaries, autobiographical statements, memoirs, and musings. It is a delicious sampling of the various matters that have plagued, preoccupied, or delighted Fowles throughout his life.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
From the author of The French Lieutenant's Woman: 30 essays, written over four decades, on subjects ranging from Franz Kafka to bugs.
Booknews
Thirty non-fiction writings by the author of and cover the period from 1963 to the present and include essays, literary criticism, commentaries, autobiographical statements, memoirs, and musings. The pieces reflect Fowle's lifelong commitment to left-wing politics, conservation, and green issues as well as themes that are frequently met in his fiction: the lost ; the archetypally unattainable woman; evolution and natural history; freedom and responsibility; randomness and hazard; literature, literariness, and the role of the writer. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Roger Kimball
...[T]he book is as various, quirkily learned, beguiling, opinionated and, in parts, as sumptuously written as Fowles's fiction.
— -- The New York Times Book Review
Star-Ledger
"The grace, wit and wisdom that we have come to expect from Fowles's fiction is also present in these essays." (Star-Ledger)
Kirkus Reviews
The celebrated English novelist gathers his essays of four decades in one volume. Best known for his novels, which include classic works such as The Magus and The French Lieutenant's Woman, Fowles now offers a collection of essays and "occasional pieces" written between 1963 and 1997. The book comprises 30 disparate pieces, divided into four categories: "Autobiographical," "Culture and Society," "Literature and Literary Criticism," and "Nature and the Nature of Nature." Fowles enthusiasts will be grateful for the book. The master's ruminations will deepen their understanding of his fictional world, perhaps especially the section on nature. However, those not already in thrall to Fowles's imagination are not likely to be persuaded or even attracted by this omnium-gatherum of odds and ends. Curiously, Fowles seems uneasy as an essayist. It is, for example, a leitmotif of this volume for him to declare that he does not care what "the academics" think. He claims this so often that it becomes clear that "the academics" whoever they may be bother him a great deal and that he in fact does care what they think. This unnecessary combat with phantoms makes him appear defensive and unsure of himself. Consequently it undermines his reader's confidence in the surefootedness of his critical stance. He is at his best when completely unapologetic, as in comments of this sort: "Above all I loathe the drift (a kind of fascism of the majority) that would so homogenize, suburbanize, and `democratize' life as to make it lose all it varieties and roughnesses make it, like margarine, `easy to spread. " Take that to Starbucks and sip it. In the end, though shot through with veins of gold, thiscollection also contains its share of slag and dross.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780099272724
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/28/1999
  • Pages: 484
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

John Fowles's many books include The Collector, The Magus, The French Lieutenant's Woman, The Ebony Tower, Daniel Martin, Mantissa, and A Maggot. He lives in Lyme Regis, England.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
I Autobiographical: Writing and the Self 3
I Write Therefore I Am (1964) 5
Notes on an Unfinished Novel (1969) 13
Foreword to the Poems (1973) 27
Of Memoirs and Magpies (1983/1994) 29
The Filming of The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981) 34
A Modern Writer's France (1988) 43
Behind The Magus (1994) 56
The J. R. Fowles Club (1995) 67
Greece (1996) 68
The John Fowles Symposium, Lyme Regis, July 1966 (1997) 73
II Culture and Society 77
On Being English but Not British (1964) 79
Gather Ye Starlets (1965) 89
The Falklands and a Death Foretold (1982) 100
III Literature and Literary Criticism 109
My Recollections of Kafka (1970) 111
Conan Doyle (1974) 123
Hardy and the Hag (1977) 136
"Eliduc" and the Lais of Marie de France (1974/78) 152
Moliere's Dom Juan (1981) 160
Ebenezer Le Page (1981) 166
John Aubrey and the Genesis of the Monumenta Britannica (1982) 175
Golding and "Golding" (1986) 197
The Lost Domaine of Alain-Fournier (1986) 208
Thomas Hardy's England (1984) 218
The Man Who Died: A Commentary (1992) 228
IV Nature and the Nature of Nature 241
Weeds, Bugs, Americans (1970) 243
The Blinded Eye (1971) 259
Shipwreck (1975) 269
Islands (1978) 279
Land (1985) 321
Collectors' Items: Introduction (1996) 340
The Nature of Nature (1995) 343
V An Interview 363
An Unholy Inquisition: John Fowles and Dianne Vipond (1995) 365
Index 385
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