RepositorySpecial Collections Archives (GB 0029)
Ref NoEUL MS 102
Datec 1949-1990
Extent3 series
TitleLiterary and personal papers of John Fowles
DescriptionThe collection consists of copy diaries c 1949-1990, copy typescript and autograph correspondence (with index) and miscellaneous papers (draft typescript poems, diary of holiday at Ippedes, 'A nice day in the country: a private record', 22 June 1957, and other papers).

In a note written at the time of the original deposit at Exeter in 1992, John Fowles explains that he has kept a 'sort of diary' since the late 1940s. The early volumes were handwritten, but from the early 1960s the entries are typed. The diaries, called for a time 'disjoints' ('disjointed thought, notions, occurrences'), were kept erratically and were not intended as a complete literary or historic record of Fowles's life and times. However, Fowles is rightly aware of their potential value to readers of his work and he has also spoken publicly about their importance to him as a writer. He suggests the diaries contain self-truths not found elsewhere in his published writing and has indicated his wish that they one day be published. The entries are fragmentary records of events, encounters and observations which are best described in Fowles's own words as 'dabs of colour', or a 'clutter of mosaics' ('Wormholes', 1998).
Admin HistoryJohn Robert Fowles was born in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on 31 March 1926. He was educated at Bedford School, 1940-1944, and spent a year at Edinburgh University before entering military service with the Royal Marines, 1945-1946. He went on to read French at New College, Oxford, receiving his degree in 1950. In 1954 John Fowles married Elizabeth Whitton, who died in 1990. He married his second wife, Sarah Smith, in 1998. In the 1950s and early 1960s, John Fowles worked first as a university lecturer in English in France, and later as a school teacher in Greece and London. His international reputation as a novelist was assured early with the publication in 1963 of 'The Collector', the success of which was followed by 'The Magus' (1965), 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' (1969), 'Daniel Martin' (1977), and 'The Maggot' (1985). In 1981, Harold Pinter's screenplay of 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' was filmed with Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep in the lead roles. John Fowles also published poetry, criticism, and written on historical and topological subjects, mainly about the South West of England. He received a number of literary awards and honours, including an honorary degree from the University of Exeter in 1983. John Fowles lived at Lyme Regis, on the Devon-Dorset border and died in 2005.
Access StatusOpen
Related MaterialOther papers of John Fowles are held at the University of Texas (Harry Ransom Center), USA, and at Stanford University, USA.
Access ConditionsRestricted access: please refer to the Archivist for details.
ArrangementThe system of arrangement is as follows: EUL MS 102/1 diaries; EUL MS 102/2 correspondence, and EUL MS 102/3 miscellaneous papers.
Finding_AidsRough handlist compiled by Jessica Gardner, Special Collections Librarian, in September 2002.
Creator_NameFowles; John Robert (1926-2005); author
Mgt_GroupLiterary papers
DS/UK/92Fowles; John Robert (1926 - 2005); author1926 - 2005
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