The composition of The French Lieutenant's Woman began suddenly in 1967 when John Fowles, then already the author of two best-sellers, The Collector (1963) and The Magus (1966), was working on another novel. Fowles found that his imagination was haunted by the recurring image of a mysterious woman standing on the end of a quay and looking out to sea. The image was so powerful that Fowles abandoned the novel he was working on. He evolved the woman into Sarah Woodruff, a penniless Victorian ex-governess. She begins the novel standing on the harbour breakwater at Lyme Regis, Dorset, looking out to sea in 1867, exactly a century before the novel was composed. The locals say that Sarah is pining for her lover. Known as �…
Stephenson, William. "The French Lieutenant's Woman". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 October 2002; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=796, accessed 18 April 2015.]