John Fowles' 1969 novel "The French Lieutenant's Woman" has become a modern classic but it is a complex novel and can be daunting to study. This accessible guide offers detailed readings of the text as well as accounts of Fowles' influences and the context of the novel's composition. It also discusses Fowles' manipulation of the story's Victorian setting and source material, and his treatment of key themes such as gender, sexuality and social class. It addresses the reviews and critical reception of the novel, and offers study suggestions and a guide to further reading. A separate section engages with the 1981 film adaptation scripted by Harold Pinter. This introduction to the text is the ideal companion to study, offering guidance on: Literary and historical context; Language, style and form; "Reading The French Lieutenant's Woman"; Critical reception and publishing history; Adaptation and interpretation; and Further reading. "Continuum Reader's Guides" are clear, concise and accessible introductions to key texts in literature and philosophy.
Each book explores the themes, context, criticism and influence of key works, providing a practical introduction to close reading, guiding students towards a thorough understanding of the text. They provide an essential, up-to-date resource, ideal for undergraduate students.
William Stephenson is Senior Lecturer in English at University of Chester. His publications include John Fowles (Northcote House).