John Fowles: The French Lieutenant's Woman (2251 words)


Other Resources

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 �…

Citation: Stephenson, William. "The French Lieutenant's Woman". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 October 2002 [, accessed 03 December 2022.]

796 The French Lieutenant's Woman 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.