Presentation on theme: "John Fowles (1926-2005). 1, September 10 Orientation 2, September 17 John Fowles 3, September 24 Salman Rushdie 4, October 1 Angela Carter and Amy Sackville."— Presentation transcript:
John Fowles ( )
1, September 10 Orientation 2, September 17 John Fowles 3, September 24 Salman Rushdie 4, October 1 Angela Carter and Amy Sackville 5, October 8 Julian Barnes 6, October 15 Anthony Burgess (lecturer: Ákos Farkas) 7, October 22Ted Hughes (October autumn break – no lectures) 8, November 5 Tony Harrison: V 9, November 12 Seamus Heaney (cf. 18 Sept) 10, November 19 Carol Ann Duffy 11, November 26 Tom Stoppard & the success of the playwright 12, December 3 Caryl Churchill & in-yer-face theatre 13, December 10Tibor Fischer COMPULSORY READINGS AT SEAS3.ELTE.HU
Anthony Burgess ( ) prolific, popular and philosophic A Clockwork Orange (1962) John Fowles ( ) Metafiction, redefining the role of the author The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969) John Fowles
Salman Rushdie (1947-) postcolonialism, pop-culture Midnight’s Children (1981) Angela Carter ( ) Feminist retelling of fairy tales The Bloody Chamber (1979)
Tibor Fischer (1959-) humour and tragedy Under the Frog (1992) Julian Barnes (1946-) Grand narrative? Flaubert’s Parrot (1984) A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters (1989)
Amy Sackville (1981-) Postvictorian post-postmodern Individualism and community The Still Point (2010)
Contemporary British Fiction Anthony Burgess: A Clockwork Orange ( 1962 ) John Fowles: The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969) Angela Carter: The Bloody Chamber (1979) OR Amy Sackville: The Still Point (2010) Salman Rushdie: Midnight’s Children (1980) Julian Barnes: Flaubert’s Parrot (1984) OR A History of the World in 10 ½ chapters (1989) Tibor Fischer: Under the Frog (1992)
John Fowles ( )
(1963) The Collector (1964) The Aristos (1965) The Magus (revised 1977) (1969) The French Lieutenant's WomanThe French Lieutenant's Woman (1973) Poems by John Fowles (1974) The Ebony Tower (1974) Shipwreck (1977) Daniel Martin (1978) Islands (1979) The Tree (1980) The Enigma of Stonehenge (1982) A short history of Lyme Regis (1982) Mantissa (1985) A Maggot (1985) Land (with Fay Godwin) (1990) Lyme Regis Camera (1998) Wormholes - Essays and Occasional Writings (2003) The Journals - Volume 1 (2006) The Journals - Volume 2
John Fowles ( ) born in 1926 in Leighton-on-Sea, Essex ”oppressively conformist family life” short military service (marine training finished on 8th May, 1945) educated at Oxford: French existentialism (Camus, Sartre) conformity and the will of the individual : teaching in France, Greece (Spetsai) and in London 1963: The Collector (success, earlier unfinished novels) publishes fiction, poetry and essays regularly until : moves to Lyme Regis
The Collector (1963) lonely lower-class Ferdinand Clegg (butterfly collector) falls in love with higher middle-class arts student Miranda Grey, but unable to approach her after winning a large sum, kidnaps her love as total possession first part: story in Clegg’s p. o. v. cold, emotionless language Clegg incapable of intimacy and normal human relationships second part: Miranda’s diary third part narrated by Clegg again
The Collector (1963) second part: Miranda’s diary at first scared and afraid of Clegg’s alleged sexual motives later learns Clegg better and starts to pity him Caliban / Miranda situation (The Tempest): hopeless obsession (Ferdinand!) tries to escape and also to seduce Clegg, but it only leads to confusion. Miranda becomes desperate, grows ill and dies.
The Collector (1963) third part narrated by Clegg again He first considers committing suicide, but after discovering Miranda’s diary and the fact that she never loved him, he decides he is not responsible. Considers kidnapping another girl. social and intellectual division: power in the hand of those who are intellectually unsuited to control it In The Aristos (1964): moral and intellectual elite (Heraclitus)
The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969) Characters: Charles Smithson (aristocrat) Tina (Ernestina) nouveau riche Sarah Woodruff Sam Farrow Mary Charles enjoys the company of his fiancée Ernestina in rural Lyme Regis, when he meets the outcast Sarah and finally falls in love with her. In the first version he returns to Ernestina. [First ending] However, it turns out to be a sort of daydreaming.
He breaks up the engagement with Ernestina and returns to Sarah, who disappears. A long search follows; Sarah finally found in the company of artists in London, with a daughter Two alternative versions for and ending are offered: – Charles recognizes that Lalage is his own child, and a family reunion is implied [Second ending] – A bitter reunion: they meet and part again unhappily [Third ending] Reader to choose the appropriate ending (?)
The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969) re/deconstruction of the Victorian novel (and society) narration: chronological very detailed descriptions (dignified journalism?) Victorian topics: –society (wide, many layers) –historical progress and evolution (cf. Sam) [Dickens’s Sam Weller] –victorian dilemma: rank marrying money –male hero facing decision: fair vs. dark lady [femme fatale] –victorian omniscience (beginning: place, time, weather)
victorian novel with a modern consciousness praise and criticism of victorian novel criticism of postmodernism (shallow, depthless) Do we know victorians better? details vs. perspective / overall view (today?) 1960’s: freedom decade, sexual revolution Isn’t freedom an illusion? Are we as free as we think? Aren’t we calculable?
Attitude to history creative anachronism looking for our problems in the historical context projection of a 1960s mentality into the 1860s allusion to 20 th century referents in 19 th c. context mostly remains at the level of the narrator’s discourse (reference to television, Hitler ) foregrounding the temporal distance between the act of narration and the objects narrated but also penetrates the fictional world
But exposing the gap between the date of the story and the date of its composition inevitably reveals not just the artificiality of historical fiction, but the artificiality of all fiction…. The French Lieutenant’s Woman is a novel as much about novel writing as about the past. There is a word for this kind of fiction, “Metafiction”… David Lodge, “A Sense of the Past” In: David Lodge, The Art of Fiction (1992)
Chapter 13 – Metafiction ”Who is Sarah? Out of what shadow does she come?” ” I do not know. This story I am telling is all imagination. These characters I create never existed outside my own mind. If I have pretended until now to know my characters’s minds and innermost thoughts, it is because I am writing in […] a convention universally accepted at the time of my story: that the novelist stands next to God.”
authorial intrusion (also in Chapter 55): carefully created illusion broken author or narrator (or character)? essay or novel? (cf. Huxley) ”We know a world is an organism, not a machine. […] a planned world (a world that fully reveals its planning) is a dead world. It is only when our characters and events begin to disobey us that they begin to live. […] In other words, to be free myself, I must give him [Charles], and Tina, and Sarah, even the abominable Mrs. Poulteney, their freedoms as well. There is only one good definition of God: the freedom that allows other freedoms to exist.”
autonomy / existential independence of the characters? basic features of the novel (character, author, ending) problematized author as a modern (romantic) myth: the work of art stems in the author This myth questioned by Roland Barthes: ‘The Death of the Author’ (1968) Wimsatt and Beardsley: ‘The Intentional Fallacy’ (1946) Fowles: the unfreedom of the tyrant self-conscious author
The freedom of the characters The freedom of Sarah: you cannot know her, you cannot calculate her moves explanations: quasi-religious: Mrs Poulteney (lapsed woman, fails second chance) scientific: Dr Grogan (Darwinist, agnostic) hysteria social: trying to rise at a high rank / fallen woman excludes herself from society Charles: no explanation: freedom (explain = control) I know a person = I can calculate his/her actions = predictability (power) threat of uncertainty: threat of freedom (cf. 1984)
Fiction and reality ”We are all in flight from the real reality.” Modernist fiction – epistemological uncertainties: How do we know? Postmodernist fiction – ontological uncertainties: Which is the real world? Historical fiction: Real compared to what? language: not a passive reflection (imitation) of the world, but active modelling. History (and also nature) is conveyed as it is organized in accordance with cultural conventions.
Hayden White: history is a narrative historians create / reveal the connections among events common features of history and fiction Victorian novel: dignified journalism everything about how people lived – except a man and a woman in the sexual act (Fielding, Defoe: earlier) yet: hayday of supressed pornography and prostitution
”Fiction usually pretends to conform to the reality: the writer puts the conflicting wants in the ring and describes the fight – but in fact fixes the fight, letting that want he himself favours win. And we judge writers of fiction both by the skill they show in fixing the fights (in other words, in persuading us that they were not fixed) and by the kind of fighter they fix in favour of…” (Chapter 55) Endings: aleatoric principle John Cage: 4’33’’ (1952) also 0’0’’ (1962) also: chance procedures in other works B. S Johnson: The Unfortunates (1969) book in a box
the tyranny of the last chapter ” I take my purse from my pocket […], I extract a florin, I rest it on my right thumbnail, I flick it, spinning, two feet into the air and catch it in my left hand. So be it.” (Chapter 55)
The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981) Director: Karel Reisz Screenplay: Harold Pinter Starring Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons
The Magus (1965 / 1977) the first novel written (published after The Collector) based of experiences in Greece a cult novel in the 60s (psychoanalysis, mysticism) Depressed and disillusioned teacher of English Nicholas Urfe in a Greek island grows fond of a local recluse gets involved in mystical and bizarre games where they often use masks and special garments After a while, game and reality seem to correspond: the games start to resemble his life
mysteries and psychic experiences follow Ending: deliberately ambiguous (uncertainty about the future of a relationship) Filmed in 1968 by Guy Green, featuring Michael Caine and Anthony Quinn