Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School


First Advisor

J.W. Yarbough


Unanimous praise for a writer's work is very rare, and probably non-existent. The differences of opinion regarding the work can take several forms: evenly divided between positive and negative or weighted in favor of one or the other. John Fowles. The latter is the case with the novels of Although the early criticism of such works as The Collector, The Magus, and The French Lieutenant's Woman (FLW) was predominantly negative, the emphasis now is mostly positive. The early criticism was commonly a review, which usually offered only a superficial outline of the plot. The trend, however, has been to examine Fowles's work in depth--theses and dissertations are being written about it, numerous books are being published, and numerous journal articles are appearing (the entire Spring 1985 issue of Modern Fiction Studies was devoted to Fowles). Critics are beginning to take Fowles seriously. The primary subject for this study is Fowles's first-written but second-published novel, The Magus. With the possible exception of Mantissa, it seems to be Fowles's most baffling work. For some critics the confusion caused by the novel 's convoluted plot and seemingly endless series of illusions is a point against it. The Time, for example, writes that "The Magus fails because [Fowles] spins a flimsy, far-flung net of narrative and then gets all tangled up in it". Other critics have been more sardonic. The reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement calls it "a silly book and an unhealthy one". Walter Allen calls it "pretentious" and "grossly self-indulgent".

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Fowles, John, 1926-2005 -- Criticism and interpretation



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


No Copyright - United State