Thursday, June 20, 2024

Thursday Thoughts

Have you ever tried to be a detective?  I was intrigued by what Colleen was reading, but she had not shared the exact title and author on her blog post in her Thursday post on June 11, HERE.  She is not a book blogger, but she wrote about this one on her blog.  So by searching through books about Stonehenge looking for the cover of the book Colleen was holding, I figured out the author and the title, so I could request The Enigma of Stonehenge by John Fowles from my library.  The subject interests me, too.  Thank you, Colleen!


The Enigma of Stonehenge ~ by John Fowles, photographs by Barry Brukoff, 1974, history, 126 pages

John Robert Fowles was born in Leigh-on-Sea, a small town in Essex.  He recalled the English suburban culture of the 1930s as oppressively conformist and his family life as intensely conventional.  Of his childhood, he said, "I have tried to escape ever since."  He attended Bedford School, a large boarding school designed to prepare boys for university, from ages 13 to 18.  After briefly attending the University of Edinburgh, he began compulsory military service in 1945 with training at Dartmoor, where he spent the next two years.  World War II ended shortly after his training began, and by 1947 he had decided that the military life was not for him.

Fowles then spent four years at Oxford, where he discovered the writings of the French existentialists.  In particular, he admired Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre, whose writings corresponded with his own ideas about conformity and the will of the individual.  He received a degree in French in 1950 and began to consider a career as a writer.  Several teaching jobs followed, including two years teaching English at a college on the Greek island of Spetsai.

The time spent in Greece was very important to him.  During his tenure on the island he began to write poetry and to overcome a long-time repression about writing.  Between 1952 and 1960 he wrote several novels, but offered none to a publisher, considering them all incomplete in some way and too lengthy.

In late 1960 Fowles completed the first draft of The Collector in just four weeks.  He continued to revise it until the summer of 1962, when he submitted it to a publisher; it appeared in the spring of 1963 and was an immediate best-seller.  The critical acclaim and success of the book allowed Fowles to devote all of his time to writing.

The most commercially successful of Fowles' novels, The French Lieutenant's Woman, appeared in 1969.  In the 1970s, he worked on a variety of literary projects, and in 1973 he published a collection of poetry.  There's more, but I won't bore you.  John Fowles died on November 5, 2005 after a long illness.



colleen said...

WE have a great new independent book store in our town. I picked up that book for a photo-op but I picked that one up for a reason/and interest.

colleen said...

You're quite the sleuth, Bonnie. Me too.