John Fowles (1926–2005) is widely regarded as one of the most innovative English writers of the second half of the 20th century. His poetry, though previously unpublished in the UK, formed an integral part of his writing life.
This selection opens with three major sequences from the early part of his career: two of which draw on his time in Greece, while the third is closely related to his first novel, The Collector. The other poems culminate in a sequence written in hospital towards the end of his life.
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“Fowles is, like Dickens, that very rare phenomenon of a deeply literary author becoming wealthy and famous entirely through his works. [...] The advantage of poetry over prose fiction, he reckoned, is that the reader ‘shall know the writer better at the end of it’.” – from Adam Thorpe’s Introduction
John Fowles was born in Leigh-on-Sea. His first novel, The Collector (1963), was a bestseller. In 1965 The Magus was published, followed in 1969 by The French Lieutenant’s Woman. The 1981 film version, with a screenplay by Harold Pinter, starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons, was nominated for five Oscars. His only book of poetry, simply called Poems, came out in the USA (but not in the UK) in 1973.