In this contemporary, Victorian-style novel Charles Smithson, a nineteenth-century gentleman with glimmerings of twentieth-century perceptions, falls in love with enigmatic Sarah Woodruff, who has been jilted by a French lover.
Of all John Fowles' novels The French Lieutenant's Woman received the most universal acclaim and today holds a very special place in the canon of post-war English literature. From the god-like stance of the nineteenth-century novelist that he both assumes and gently mocks, to the last detail of dress, idiom and manners, his book is an immaculate recreation of Victorian England.
Not only is it the epic love story of two people of insight and imagination seeking escape from the cant and tyranny of their age, 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' is also a brilliantly sustained allegory of the decline of the twentieth-century passion for freedom.
Year of Publication
John Fowles (1926-2005) was educated at Oxford and subsequently lectured in English at universities in Greece and the UK. The success of his first novel, published in 1963, allowed him to devote all his time to writing. He spent the last decades of his life on the southern coast of England in the small harbor town of Lyme Regis.