Letters to my father from novelist John Fowles.
Lyme Regis, December 24th 1967
Glad to hear that your project is now 'in the can' as the movie-makers say. I should be very happy to read it, if you have a photostat or something you can send. I've lost typescripts across the Atlantic, so if your have only one copy I'd strongly advise against risking that.
I think what you have to decide (this is the key
question every author without exception, from the driest academic to the
vulgarest bestseller, must ask himself) is what audience you have in
mind. By and large esteem from fellow academics and esteem from the
general public are incompatible. you must decide which you want to go
for; and having placed your bet, you mustn't chicken - for example, both
want to please the ordinary reader and convince other sociologists. You
just can't do both.
Best wishes for the coming year,
John Fowles wrote The Magus, The Collector and The French Lieutenant's Woman. Various
interviews and profiles describe him as a "recluse." Other terms:
"Irrascible," "Curmudgeonly" and, later, after the publication of his
personal diaries "anti-semite."
But apparently, in the
mid to late 60s, my father wrote him , and Fowles was receptive enough
to correspond, and at one point, my father stayed the night at his
house. It looks as if my father approached him regarding his PhD
thesis, which was a content analysis of fiction in the Ladies Home
Journal over a period of years. What connection he saw between his own
work and that of Fowles...unknown.