The French Lieutenant’s Woman – John Fowles (1969)

1960s: Days of Rage


The French Lieutenant’s Woman is a 1969 postmodernhistorical fiction novel by John Fowles. The plot explores the fraught relationship of gentleman and amateur naturalist Charles Smithson and Sarah Woodruff, the former governess and independent woman with whom he falls in love. The novel builds on Fowles’ authority in Victorian literature, both following and critiquing many of the conventions of period novels. … Part of the novel’s reputation concerns its postmodern literary qualities, with expressions of metafiction, historiography, metahistory, Marxist criticism, and feminism. Stylistically and thematically, the novel has been described as historiographic metafiction.[6] The contrast between the independent Sarah Woodruff and the more stereotypical male characters often earns the novel attention for its treatment of gender issues. … Set in the mid-nineteenth century, the narrator identifies the novel’s protagonist as Sarah Woodruff, the Woman of the title, also known as…

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