MacK's Reviews > The French Lieutenant's Woman

The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles
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Oct 28, 07

bookshelves: contemporary, brit-lit
Read in October, 2007

I'm considering having t-shirts made.

They will either be a hodgepodge of John Fowles quotes that I find tremendously thought provoking and profound, a tour date of the freaky head-trips his books have put me on, or quite simply I (Heart) John Fowles.

I don't like this book nearly as much as the other two I've already read this year The Magus or The Collector, and I still think it's better than most everything else out there.

Part of this stems from the fact that I, like Fowles, am a Literary nerd and so, adore the fact that in his book about Victorian Romance he both mimics the style of Victorians, while mocking their sensibilities and honoring their break-throughs in philosophy and the arts. At times this hampers his style, confining himself within such narrow paramters is the only fault I find, and, even then he breaks free with such startling regularlity that the only problem is the jarring realization that you have not been reading Dickens, but Fowles the whole time.

His meditations on the creative process continue here, as do his criticisms of the idle rich and the foolish hobgoblin of
"duty" that so haunts young men trying to do "right" in the world. All of these themes are presented with such candor and sympathetic honesty that Fowles is quite clearly both the young student and the wise counselor he so often choses as his primary characters.

Through all of this, his witty turns of phrase and charming honesty create a latter day Wilde in my mind, while the progression of the plot invites the reader to personalize the distant events.

It continues to astound me that so superb a novelist should be so absent from American curriculum. Perhaps I'm wrong, perhaps he's standard reading and I just came from ill-informed systems.

Or perhaps I should come home, armed with the books, and a box of t-shirts.
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message 1: by Caro (new) - added it

Caro Joy I read your review and wanted to say, I love your t-shirt idea! Recently, a professor of mine kept proposing similar ideas for his favorite works/authors, making shirts with quotes! As one literature nerd to another- right on!


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