Sunday, November 13, 2005
THE QUOTABLE JOHN FOWLES
A fascinating excerpt from John Fowles journal in today's Guardian reveals a lot about the writer. At the height of his fame, he was mired in personal misery, literary envy, and pessimism. Documenting the years between the release of The Magus, through the writing and publication of The French Lieutenant's Woman, the journals expose a man who was neither happy in solitude nor in company, and who found the very success he craved a bitter reward. The writer who has so much empathy for his characters reserves little for his wife, himself or for anyone else who populates his world. And yet his rapturous descriptions of nature, and his stinging and often prophetic predictions about the future remain stunning.
One can only hope that in the intervening years between this diary from the sixties and his death last week, he achieved a greater peace.
A few Quotes:
On his wife's jealousy when he gets a large advance: "Love is a pact of inadequacies."
On an afternoon in his beloved fields: "It is a poem, a book of hours, a symposium of all the springs that ever were or ever will be."
On reviews: "In a way it seems healthier in a sick culture to be rejected than approved."
On beginning The French Lieutenant's Woman: "It was really just one visual idea: a woman standing at the end of the cobb and staring mysteriously into the sea."
On a literary cocktail party: "It was...a nest or swarm of beings, self-adulatory, warming to one another, and yet fanged in every external reality."