John Fowles gained international recognition in 1963 with his
first published novel, The Collector, but his labor on
what may be his greatest literary undertaking, his journals,
commenced over a decade earlier. Fowles, whose works include
The Maggot, The French Lieutenant''s Woman, and
The Ebony Tower, is among the most inventive and
influential English novelists of the twentieth century.
The first volume begins in 1949 with Fowles'' final year at
Oxford. It reveals his intellectual maturation, chronicling his
experiences as a university lecturer in France and as a
schoolteacher on the Greek island of Spetsai. Simultaneously candid
and eloquent, Fowles'' journals also expose the deep connection
between his personal and scholarly lives as Fowles struggled to win
literary acclaim. From his affair with Elizabeth, the married woman
who would become his first wife, to his passion for film,
ornithology, travel, and book collecting, the journals present a
portrait of a man eager to experience life.
The second and final volume opens in 1966, as Fowles, already
an international success, navigates his newfound fame and wealth.
With absolute honesty, his journals map his inner turmoil over his
growing celebrity and his hesitance to take on the role of a public
figure. Fowles recounts his move from London to a secluded house on
England''s Dorset coast, where discontented with society''s
voracious materialism he led an increasingly isolated life.
Great works in their own right, Fowles'' journals elucidate
the private thoughts that gave rise to some of the greatest writing
of our time.