Thursday, March 30, 2006

Hal Jensen on John Fowles' 'last novel'

at the TLS (no subscription required):

John Fowles regarded his Journals, available now in two massive volumes, as his 'last novel'. This might seem a remarkably lazy piece of self-importance (in other words, an exemplary postmodern gesture) or perhaps a desperate act of reclamation by a man who has written himself out. The surprise, however, as one treks through half a million words of self-address, forty years spent staring into the blank-paged mirror, is that it is hard to disagree with the claim. At least, given the type of novel that Fowles kept attempting - a capacious literary-philosophical-autobiographical holdall - it would be fair to say that these Journals are the condition to which all Fowles's writing aspired.

Of course John Fowles would never have had a blog, but it's an interesting idea to contemplate.... or at least to wonder whether the still-unpublished material (the journals were far too vast to be published in full--two million words)could be disseminated in that kind of format.

Other good things: Richard Calvocoressi on Francis Bacon's studio; Alastair Macaulay on a new biography of Laurence Olivier.

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