"The Magus" is a 1965 novel by the British author John Fowles. It was the first novel written by Fowles, although it was not the first that he had published. The novel was ranked as number 93 on the Modern Library 100 Best Novels in 1999 and number 67 on a BBC reading survey called The Big Read in 2003. The novel … [Read more...] about The Magus
John Fowles was born on March 31st, 1926 in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England. The son of a tobacco importer, Fowles' family lived a middle-class lifestyle when he was a child. As a child, Fowles' cousin Peggy became his nursemaid and close companion, although she was eighteen years older than him.
Fowles attended Bedford School during the Second World War when he was in his early teenage years. He was an excellent student and, after graduating, was preparing to join the Royal Marines when the war ended and he was sent to Okehampton Camp in Devon instead.
Fowles completed his military service in 1947 and returned to school, attending New College, Oxford, later admitting that this time in the military only made him want to become and "anarchist". At Oxford, Fowles' began reading the French existentialists such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus and developed an interest in writing. When he graduated, however, he began working as a teacher, taking a job on the Greek island of Spetses.
During this time, Fowles' wrote poetry that he later had published and met his future wife, Elizabeth Christy whom he married in 1954. He left the island in 1953 and returned to England. For the next ten years after his marriage, Fowles taught English as a foreign language at St. Godric's College in Hampstead, London.
Through this time, Fowles continued to write novels and his first, "The Collector" was published in 1963. British and American crowds loved the novel and Fowles was able to quit his teaching job and become a professional writer. "The Collector" was adapted into a film in 1965.
Fowles published several more books throughout the 1960's, including his most well-known work, "The French Lieutenant's Woman" at the end of the decade in 1969 and "The Magus" in 1968. With "The French Lieutenant's Woman", Fowles became an international success and the novel was adapted into a film in 1981 that did very well in theaters.
Fowles went on to serve as the curator of the Lyme Regis Museum from 1977 to 1988 when he retired after suffering a mild stroke. In 1990, his wife, Elizabeth died of cancer and Fowles was sent into a deep depression. Eight years later, he married again to a woman named Sarah Smith.
On November 5th, 2005, Fowles died of heart failure at the age of 79 in Axminster Hospital in Dorset, England.