November 8, 2005


Reclusive novelist John Fowles dies at 79 (Charlotte Higgins, November 8, 2005, The Guardian)

John Fowles, the novelist who brought sexiness and popular appeal to the serious literary novel, has died from heart failure near his home in Lyme Regis, Dorset. According to his wife, Sarah, he "faded away, slipped away on Saturday" after two weeks in hospital in Axminster. "His heart just gave out - gave up, really," she said.
Fowles, who was 79, will be best remembered for the romantic The French Lieutenant's Woman, a daring, meticulous and sexy treatment of the Victorian novel which gives it a postmodern twist of alternative endings. "It was unbelievably exploratory," said his publisher, Dan Franklin of Jonathan Cape. "The two endings were absolutely revolutionary when it came out." Harold Pinter adapted The French Lieutenant's Woman for a film directed by Karel Reisz and starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons. "It looks good but it is somehow empty at the heart," the author said of it.

The novel, and works such as The Collector, and the self-consciously allusive and playful The Magus (he described it to his wife as "a young person's book"), have been widely influential. According to John Mullan, professor of English at University College London, Fowles established that: "A highly literary novel could also be a potential bestseller ... he offered readers literary pleasure as well as the voltage they expected from contemporary fiction."

Don't know if they still do, but when we were kids they had you read The Collector in school--a good enough book, but probably not a "young person's book."

-OBIT: John Fowles: Bestselling novelist who explored dark themes of time, power and relationships (John Ezard, November 8, 2005, The Guardian)
-OBIT: John Fowles:
(Daily Telegraph, 08/11/2005)
-TRIBUTE: Master novelist with an eye on immortality (Sally Pook, 08/11/2005, Daily Telegraph)
-OBIT: John Fowles, 79, British Postmodernist Who Tested Novel's Conventions, Dies (SARAH LYALL, November 8, 2005, NY Times)

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 8, 2005 12:28 AM
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