Conversations with John Fowles
Edited by Dianne L. Vipond
Unjacketed cloth, $50.00
"I always think the notion of the fork in the road is very important when you are creating narrative . . . . On the actual page you often do not know when a scene is going to end, how it is going to end, or if you end it this way, how it is going to change the future of the book."
Although best known for his novels The Collector, The Magus, and The French Lieutenant's Woman, John Fowles is also a short story writer, a poet, a respected translator, and a prolific essayist. In his long literary career, he has managed the feats of welding stunning innovation to tradition, pushing the formal boundaries of literary fiction, and still capturing critical acclaim, popular success, and a worldwide readership.
In Conversations with John Fowles, the first book of interviews devoted to the English writer, Dianne L. Vipond gathers over twenty of the most revealing interviews Fowles has granted in the last forty years. With critics, scholars, and journalists, he discusses his life, his art, his distinctive world view, and his special relationship with nature.
Throughout his interviews, Fowles's remarkable consistency of thought is illuminated as he covers the meaning and genesis of his work. His uncompromising honesty and refreshing lack of guardedness are evident when he compares the naturalness of writing with eating or making love.
From the 1960s through the 1990s, this master chronicler of the late half of the twentieth century reveals his serious engagement with social, political, and philosophical issues. He identifies himself with feminism, socialism, humanism, and the environmental movement, and he explores his recurring theme of personal, artistic, and socio-political freedom. His books, he says, "are about the difficulty of attaining personal freedom, especially in terms of discovering what one is."
Any reader who has been intrigued, challenged, and entertained by his work in the past is sure to find these conversations spanning the writer's career to be stimulating and revealing. Dianne L. Vipond is a professor of English at California State University, Long Beach. A co- editor of the book Literacy, Language, and Power, she has published articles in English Journal, Short Story, Twentieth Century Literature, and the Los Angeles Times.