The Magus

Topics: World War II, John Fowles, The Magus Pages: 4 (1315 words) Published: May 3, 2013
John Robert Fowles was born March 31, 1926 in Leigh-on-Sea, a small town located about 40 miles from London in the county of Essex, England. He recalls the English suburban culture of the 1930s as oppressively conformist and his family life as intensely conventional. Of his childhood, Fowles says "I have tried to escape ever since." Fowles 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, Fowles 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 so Fowles never came near combat, and by1947 he had decided that the military life was not for him. As his friend Bob Goosman said:"John Fowles was quite simply a great writer and a great man.  In addition to producing two of the finest novels of the 20th Century--The Magus and The French Lieutenant's Woman--he was a brilliant essayist and a keen observer of nature". in 1965, The Magus--drafts of which Fowles had been working on for over a decade-- was published. Among the seven novels that Fowles has written, The Magus has perhaps generated the most enduring interest, becoming something of a cult novel, particularly in the U.S. Early drafts of Magus were made in 1950th when Fowles worked as a teacher of English on the Greek island Spetses which became a prototype of Praxos. So he knew a lot about greek culture and traditions. With parallels to Shakespeare's The Tempest and Homer's The Odyssey, The Magus is a traditional quest story made complex by the incorporation of dilemmas involving freedom, hazard and a variety of existential uncertainties. Fowles compared it to a detective story because of the way it teases the reader: "You mislead them ideally to lead them into a greater's a trap which I hope will hook the reader," he says.

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