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The French Lieutenant's Woman: Biography: John Fowles

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The novelist John Fowles was born in Essex, England in 1926. He has since described his childhood in the 1930s as oppressively conventional. After two years of military service, he went on to study French at Oxford University and gained his degree in 1950. He went on to teach at various institutions into the 1960s until he became a full-time writer. He lived and wrote in Lyme Regis from 1968.
His first published work, The Collector (1963), brought him international fame and is a dark prescient portrayal of a man who collects butterflies and women. His following novels such as The Magus (1966) and The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969) continued to reflect his intellectual and innovative style. His fiction demonstrates an engagement with philosophical themes and engages with existential and poststructuralist theories. He has also written non-fiction, such as The Aristos (1964), and poetry. In all, he wrote seven novels and The French Lieutenant’s Woman is perhaps the most well known and commercially successful. Its adaptation for film in 1981 no doubt enabled this popularity.
In 2004, the first of his journals were published and he died in 2005 after a long illness. He suffered a stroke in 1988 and never fully recovered. In an obituary, written by Melvyn Bragg for the Guardian, Fowles is described as ‘one of the better illuminators’ of the 1960s and is also praised for the ‘intellectual breadth’ that he brought to his fiction (8 November 2005).




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