Ian Samson offers an unapologetically scathing assault on John Fowles:
The chronology of John Fowles’s friendless and hallowed experience is as follows: he gets born, goes to prep school, boarding-school, Oxford, then goes to teach at the international school on the Greek island of Spetsai, returns to London with the wife of a colleague, teaches at various unsuitable colleges, enjoys enormous success with his first book, The Collector (1963), and buys a big house in Lyme Regis where he writes very long books, such as The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969), Daniel Martin (1977) and A Maggot (1985), which sometimes get made into films and make him a lot of money (large parts of the Journal are filled with his totting-up of income and expenditure). It may have taken him a while to achieve the success he feels he deserves, but he hit his stride straight off in his journal, setting the tone in the first entry, on 24 September 1949: ‘A curious thing. About to throw a piece of screwed-up paper into the yellow jug which serves as waste-paper basket, I said to myself, “As much chance as you have of being a genius.” It fell into the jug without a murmur, a 20 to 1 chance, at the least.’
Of course, given how Fowles goes after Scrabble players (“‘The poverty of minds that can spend such evenings playing such rubbish”), the apparently joyless and smug scribe has it coming. Personally, I keep a daily journal (in addition to this weblog and everything else), but I would never deign to show anyone my prattle, let alone profit off of it when I couldn’t write a new novel.
© 2004, DrMabuse. All rights reserved.