Detail Explanation as a historical parody of FLW

Discussions relating to John Fowles' novel The French Lieutenant's Woman.

Detail Explanation as a historical parody of FLW

Postby Hayashi on Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:35 am

I can guess everybody is so surprised and can not believe my idea at first. Also I really feel that it is very difficult to revise or change the fixed concept. So far nobody has mentiond this idea or interpretation. But there are so many clear or persuasive evidence in the French Lieutenant's Woman (FLW). So I’m sure that all of you will accept my idea in not long.
Firstly, to find or reveal Folwles’ tricks here in FLW is not difficult if you knew about the real story between the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB) and John Ruskin in detail.
Secondly, never believe all what Fowles says as a narrator here. He called himself a magus or magician. All what he narrates in FLW is lies to trick readers. When we watch magic shows, do we believe what magicians say in their magic shows? If they say there’s no trick in their magic shows, that means there are tricks as you know. We just enjoy their lying but not believe it.
Thirdly, compare the story of Sarah and Charles with that of Pre-Raphaelites and John Ruskin very carefully.
The stories of both begin as follows.
Ruskin and his virgin wife Effie met scandlous and mysterious PRB in the Royal Academy under Sir Joshua Reynolds just like Charles and his fiancee Ernestina meet scandlous and mysterious Sarah under an old woman employer in Lyme Regis in the Victorian age.
PRB asked Ruskin to help them just like Sarah asks Charles to help her.
Ruskin helped and fell in love with them (he could not love real women) just like Charles helps Sarah and falls in love with her.
Ruskin found that PRB was pure (The Pre-Raphaelites have been considered to be related with French art movement;t he first avant-garde, but they were not be affected in fact) just like Charles finds that Sarah(considered the French Lieutenant's whore) is virgin.
Ruskin lost his wife Effie (she left him for a young PRB painter Millais--it became great senstional as a love triangle in that time) just like Cairles loses his fiancee Ernestina (breaks engagement).
Soon after this, the first PRB was broken up just like Sarah despears suddenly (so
called the first ending).
Later the second PRB was formed to appear just like Sarah reappears.
New PRB disliked Ruskin’s forceful instructions and became more independent just like new Sarah dislikes Charles’ protection and becomes more independent.
This new PRB had a baby; a group of young painters as its successor just like new Sarah has a baby.
As for Fowles as a narrator here, he tells lies from the beginning to the end to trick us as a magician or magus. He pretends as if he created this story by himself. He says the characters exist only in his imagination and he can change the destinies of them freely like a god. All of these are totally lies, of course. Why have readers and critics believed what he says? The the charactors in FLW existed truly in the Victorian age. Therefore Fowles can’t change the destiny of Charles (Ruskin), and he does not change it and continues the story as you know. He can only pretend here.
And then Fowles uses many magic tools like epigraphs in the each chapters (like lights, music, dried ice etc. in magic shows) and alternative endings etc. to cheat readers effectively.
Finally there is the most important and strongest evidence as the parody of the history of PRB and John Ruskin not Victorian novels. It is said a parody must have an inconsistency. That is the fate of a parody. In the end of FLW Sarah lives with several artists, likely the Rossettis, and enjoys an artistic, creative life. This is the inconsistency of the parody. Were there independent women who sought freedom around Rossettis and PRB? Were Elizabeth Siddal, Annie Miller, and Janey Morris etc. around PRB independent and creative like Sarah? No, they were absolutely not. On the contrary they were dependent. Why is Sarah be with PRB (the Rossettis) in the end? Because Sarah herself is the PRB. Even Fowles, a great magus or magician, cannot conquer the fate of a parody. When Fowles changes PRB into Sarah, PRB becomes a woman who seeks freedom and independence unlike the women of PRB.
Magus Fowles changed the historical fact into a heterosexual story of Sarah (PRB) and Charles (J. Ruskin) as a great magic show. That’s why FLW is not a fiction but a non-fiction and a parody. If Mr. Harold Pinter had known these tricks, he may have written a different screenplay.

S. Hayashi Tsukuba city, Japan
Hayashi
 
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Re: Detail Explanation as a historical parody of FLW

Postby Ben Winsworth on Thu Mar 20, 2008 2:12 am

Dear Hayashi,

Interesting associations between the FLW and the Pre-Raphaelites, but don't lose sight of the fact that Fowles is also using the I9th century to comment on the the 20th. While the novel does borrow from the past, it is still a fiction. This in no way lessens the impact of the novel: in the same way as Fowles uses history to shape his texts, so he seems to be telling us that - paradoxically - fiction can teach truth and shape the choices that we make in the present. Remember the influence of French existential writers like Sartre and Camus.

Best wishes,

Ben Winsworth
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Re: Detail Explanation as a historical parody of FLW

Postby Hayashi on Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:45 am

How to find Fowles' tricks in FLW.

Dear Ben,
Thanks for reading. I’ve been waiting for replies to my findings. I can imagine your feeling.
For those people who cannot believe my idea or want to find Fowles’ tricks. I’ll show you how to find his tricks.
To find Folwles’ tricks here in FLW all of you must know about the relationship between the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB) and John Ruskin in detail. It is the essential precondition.
Fowles is a tough, skilful and tactical magus. So be careful not to be lost yourselves in his magusland with many kind of tricks; the epigraphs (comments), false endings, lying narrator and so on. Just concentrate on following the track of Sarah and Charles.
Then at first please ignore the epigraphs(comments) in each chapter. They are like music, lights, dried ice etc. in magic shows (magic shows need such effective tools). They are meanigless, just magic tools.
Secondly never believe all what Fowles narrates here. He tells lies from the beginning to the end to cheat us as a magician. When we watch magic shows, do we believe what magicians say in their magic shows? The answer is Never! If they tell us there’s no trick in their magic shows, that means there are tricks as you know. We enjoy their lying but not believe it. (Please don’t trust what he said with interviews. When magicians are asked about his magic shows, do they tell truth about his tricks?)
Thirdly do compare the story of Sarah and Chirles with that of Pre-Raphaelites and John Ruskin very carefully. And you will find Fowles changed the PRB and Ruskin into a heterosexual story of Sarah (PRB) and Charles (J. Ruskin) faithfully from the beginning to the end.
It is well known that Fowles was so familiar with art history. Magus Fowles has tricked us in his magusland since FLW was published in 1969. Fowles said that his works are to play hide-and-seek with readers. It’s time to find his tricks in FLW. And we will realize Fowles is tough, skilful and tactical and a great Magus.
Warm regards,
Shigeko. Hayashi
Hayashi
 
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Re: Detail Explanation as a historical parody of FLW

Postby Ben Winsworth on Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:51 pm

Dear Hayashi,

How can the epigraphs be meaningless? Surely they are there for the reader to make a comparison between the past and the present, in a similar way to the pages from 'The Gentlemans Magazine' in 'A Maggot'? I agree that there are - as you insist - some parallels between the Charles/Sarah relationship and the Pre-Raph's, but I still feel that this is a deliberate attempt on Fowles' part to comment on similar changes taking place in Britain in the 1960's.

Hope this finds you well.

Best wishes,

Ben
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Re: Detail Explanation as a historical parody of FLW

Postby Hayashi on Fri Apr 04, 2008 2:10 pm

The spectacular magic show
Hi Ben,
I was in China on holiday. Some critics paid attention to the epigraphs too much. Magic shows need not only tricks but effective tools (sound, music, lights, dried ice etc.). Such tools make the shows successful or perfect to delude audience.
If you read the FLW through the Fowles’ comments, you will enjoy his spectacular magic show. If you want to find the essentials of the FLW, please read with your own eyes opened widely without the magician’s comments.
If the FLW is a fiction created by Fowles, he can control his characters freely like God as he says. However does he change the destinies of them in fact? No, not even only once as you read. Just only suggestion of endings or trying to change. Why doesn’t he change the destiny of Charles with a coin? The answer is so clear. Because he is not the creator of the story and its characters, he cannot control.
Almost everything in the story of Sarah and Charles can be explained by using the Victorian art history. To be honest, it is not difficult to prove the tricks of FLW. Because this story is packed with the Victorian art history. Fowles writes about the conservative and formalism moral of the Royal Academy of Arts like that of the Victorian society. In the Academy the PRB (young painters) sought freedom like Sarah in Lyme Regis.
So far the FLW has been criticized only about his magic show through Fowles' comments, not the essentials of the FLW. Why have many people fallen into the Fowles’ trap? Can we find the truth of tricks through magician’s comments?
What does Fowles try to focus on here? Though the PRB is an attractive and mysterious heroine, Fowles tries to focus on Ruskin’s humanistic aspect. John Ruskin was born in London on 8 February 1819. He was one of the greatest figures of the Victorian age, poet, artist, critic, social revolutionary and conservationist. He could not love real or grownup women. That made his life so bitter.
S. Hayashi, Japan
Hayashi
 
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Re: Detail Explanation as a historical parody of FLW

Postby Hayashi on Sun Apr 27, 2008 6:17 pm

Hi David,
Thanks for your reply,
I feel your deep respect for Mr. Fowles. Also I respect him sincerely.
In case Fowles writes about the moral of the Royal Academy of Arts not the Victorian society, it gives him no harm as a writer. On the contary it rases his greatness.
Warm regards,
S. Hayashi
Hayashi
 
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Re: Detail Explanation as a historical parody of FLW

Postby JennyGorrod on Thu Jul 30, 2009 6:40 am

Hi

I have just joined the Discussion Board.

Having just read 'Le Grand Meaulnes' (1913) by Henri Alain-Fournier, I am more likely to see parallels between that book and TFLW than the link between Sarah and the Pre-Raphealites.

'Le Grand Meaulnes' was one of John Fowles' favourite books and he cites the idea of the 'lost domain' as a major influence on his fictional writing.

Interestingly, Fowles states in his journals that, whilst visiting an antiques dealer, he was taken to see a rare portrait by Rosetti. The model was not Lizzie Siddall, but she had auburn hair. Fowles says that he felt as if he were looking at Sarah, as if she had been a real woman who actually existed. That sent shivers down my spine!

Best Wishes

Jenny
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