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A young Englishman, Nicholas Urfe, accepts a teaching post on a remote Greek island in order to escape an unsatisfactory love affair. There, his friendship with a reclusive millionaire evolves into a mysterious--and deadly--game of violence, seduction, and betrayal. As he is drawn deeper into the trickster's psychological traps, Nicholas finds it increasingly difficult to distinguish past from present, fantasy from reality. He becomes a desperate man fighting for his sanity and his very survival.
John Fowles expertly unfolds a spellbinding exploration of the complexities of the human mind. By turns disturbing, thrilling and seductive, The Magus is a masterwork of contemporary literature.
Hailed as the first modern psychological thriller, The Collector is the internationally bestselling novel that catapulted John Fowles into the front rank of contemporary novelists. This tale of obsessive love--the story of a lonely clerk who collects butterflies and of the beautiful young art student who is his ultimate quarry--remains unparalleled in its power to startle and mesmerize.
"A bravura first novel...As a horror story, this book is a remarkable tour de force." --New Yorker
The eponymous hero of John Fowles's largest and richest novel is an English playwright turned Hollywood screenwriter who has begun to question his own values. Summoned home to England to visit an ailing friend, Daniel Martin finds himself back in the company of people who once knew him well, forced to confront his buried past, and propelled toward a journey of self-discovery through which he ultimately creates for himself a more satisfying existence. A brilliantly imagined novel infused with a profound understanding of human nature, Daniel Martin is John Fowles at the height of his literary powers.
John Fowles presents a remarkable translation of a nineteenth-century work that provided the seed for his acclaimed novel The French Lieutenant's Woman and that will astonish and haunt modern readers.
Based on a true story, Claire de Duras's Ourika relates the experiences of a Senegalese girl who is rescued from slavery and raised by an aristocratic French family during the time of the French Revolution. Brought up in a household of learning and privilege, she is unaware of her difference until she overhears a conversation that suddenly makes her conscious of her race--and of the prejudice it arouses. From this point on, Ourika lives her life not as a French woman but as a black woman who feels "cut off from the entire human race." As the Reign of Terror threatens her and her adoptive family, Ourika struggles with her unusual position as an educated African woman in eighteenth-century Europe.
A best-seller in the 1820s, Ourika captured the attention of Duras's peers, including Stendhal, and became the subject of four contemporary plays. The work represents a number of firsts: the first novel set in Europe to have a black heroine; the first French literary work narrated by a black female protagonist; and, as Fowles points out in the foreword to his translation, "the first serious attempt by a white novelist to enter a black mind."
Commencing in Fowles’s final year at Oxford, the journals in this volume chronicle the years he spent as a university lecturer in France; his experiences teaching school on the Greek island of Spetsai (which would inspire The Magus) and his love affair there with the married woman who would later become his first wife; and his return to England and his ongoing struggle to achieve literary success. It is an account of a life lived in total engagement with the world; although Fowles the novelist takes center stage, we see as well Fowles the nascent poet and critic, ornithologist and gardener, passionate naturalist and traveler, cinephile and collector of old books.
Soon after he fell in love with his first wife, Elizabeth, Fowles wrote in his journal, “She has asked me not to write about her in here. But I could not not write, loving her as I do. . . . What else I betrayed, I could not betray this diary.” It is that determined, unsparing honesty and forthrightness that imbues these journals with all the emotional power and narrative complexity of his novels. They are a revelation of both the man and the artist.
The other poems included, largely unpublished previously and roughly in chronological order, are very varied in content, form and technique, and culminate in a sequence written in hospital towards the end of his life. Together, these poems constitute a powerful body of work reflecting on love, nature, suffering and desire.
Fowles was always interested in verse translation and adaptation, and the book concludes with a fascinating sample of this side of his literary achievement. This section includes his translations of Martial, Catullus, Li Po and the eighth-century Man’yoshu, Japan’s oldest poetry compilation.
John Fowles (1926–2005) is widely regarded as one of the most innovative and important English novelists of the second half of the twentieth century, but his career as a writer began in the 1950s with poetry. After studying French at Oxford, he taught in France and Greece before returning to England. His first published novel, The Collector (1963), was a major critical as well as commercial success, and was followed in 1965 by The Magus, a highly original novel set in Greece. In 1968 he moved to Lyme Regis, a town that featured in his next novel, The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969). Subsequent works of fiction are The Ebony Tower (1974), Daniel Martin (1977), Mantissa (1982) and A Maggot (1985). He also published a number of non-fiction books, but his only book of poetry, simply called Poems, came out in the USA (but not in the UK) in 1973.