Contemporary British author
of great renown. Fowles is best known for The Magus
and The Collector
. Fowles tends to analyze the human psyche
while simultaneously delving into culture
Life Story and All
John Fowles was born on March 31st, 1926, in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England. He attended the University of Edinburgh and Oxford and was drafted into the British Armed Forces, but did not serve in combat, due to the end of the Second World War.
Fowles, having recieved a degree in the French language, taught English (and English alone) at Anargyrios College in Greece, the University of Poitiers in France, and St. Godric's College in England.
In 1960, Fowles published The Collector, which depicts a deranged young man who wins the lottery, and proceeds to kidnap an attractive young art student. Through the book, Fowles examines the kidnapper's psychosis (wryly named "Caliban" by his captive), before abruptly switching points of view to that of Miranda, the captive. Miranda explores the culture of the British artistic elite and the social trends of 1950s England.
The Collector received great critical acclaim, cementing Fowles' future as a writer. In 1965, Fowles published The Magus, which he had worked on for numerous years before the publication of The Collector. Among other things, he also authored The French Lieutenant's Woman in 1969, a financial success.
Style & Philosophy
Fowles, having been raised in the English suburbs in the 1930s, tends to condemn the associated lifestyle. Fowles describes the suburban social climate as "crippling and hideously inefficient", and expresses an anathema to conformity. This is clear in The Collector; "Caliban" begins the book by winning the lottery, and stops working. He stays at home, hearing from no one but his manipulative aunt and collecting butterflies. He is completely removed from society for years by wealth and a lack of activity, which is played as a part of his psychosis. He and Miranda explore this through the book, as she attempts to find some personality or redeemable traits in him through dialogue.
Fowles continues to write, in his rather distinctive style, from his home in Lyme Regis, on the southern coast of England.