Although best known for his novels The Collector,
The Magus, and The French Lieutenant''s Woman,
John Fowles is also a short story writer, a poet, a respected
translator, and a prolific essayist. In his long literary career,
he has managed the feats of welding stunning innovation to
tradition, pushing the formal boundaries of literary fiction, and
still capturing critical acclaim, popular success, and a worldwide
In Conversations with John Fowles, the first book of
interviews devoted to the English writer, Dianne L. Vipond gathers
over twenty of the most revealing interviews Fowles has granted in
the last forty years. With critics, scholars, and journalists, he
discusses his life, his art, his distinctive world view, and his
special relationship with nature.
Throughout his interviews, Fowles''s remarkable consistency of
thought is illuminated as he covers the meaning and genesis of his
work. His uncompromising honesty and refreshing lack of guardedness
are evident when he compares the naturalness of writing with eating
or making love.
From the 1960s through the 1990s, this master chronicler of the
late half of the twentieth century reveals his serious engagement
with social, political, and philosophical issues. He identifies
himself with feminism, socialism, humanism, and the environmental
movement, and he explores his recurring theme of personal,
artistic, and socio-political freedom. His books, he says, "are
about the difficulty of attaining personal freedom, especially in
terms of discovering what one is."
Any reader who has been intrigued, challenged, and entertained
by his work in the past is sure to find these conversations
spanning the writer''s career to be stimulating and revealing.
Dianne L. Vipond is a professor of English at California State
University, Long Beach. A co- editor of the book Literacy,
Language, and Power, she has published articles in English
Journal, Short Story, Twentieth Century
Literature, and the Los Angeles Times.