Publication Year

1992

Keywords

Literature, historical development, English, John Fowles, historical novel, literary criticism

Disciplines

Comparative Literature | English Language and Literature | Fiction | History | Philosophy | Religion

Abstract

In so much else we have developed immeasurable from the eighteenth century; with their central plain question--what morality justifies the flagrant injustice and inequality of human society?--we have not progressed on inch. --John Fowles

It takes John Fowles five novels, one book of philosophical essays, one book of poetry, many articles, twenty-two years, and all but two paragraphs of his most recent novel to reach such a succinctly decisive philosophical statement. Fowles's view of human nature provides a unifying theme through all of his books, including his historical novels, A Maggot and The French Lieutenant's Woman. Setting the novels in an historical context, the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries respectively, allows Fowles to explore the way his philosophies relate to, and develop within, different historical settings from his own, each possessing unique social structures, for example their religious beliefs, social conventions, and scientific models. In his historical novels, Fowles shows how existential characters relate to the social structures created by the novel's chronological placement.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

English: Literature and Writing

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