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.