John Fowles Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 157 quotes)
She argued. She cried. She took my faltering, my tortured refusals for something far finer than they really were. At the end of the afternoon, before we left the wood, and with a solemnity and sincerity, a complete dedication of herself that I cannot describe to you because such unconditional promising is another extinct mystery...she said, Whatever happens I shall never marry anyone but you.
Under this swarm of waspish self-inquiries he began to feel sorry for himself - a brilliant man trapped, a Byron tamed; and his mind wandered back to Sarah, to visual images, attempts to recollect that face, that mouth, that generous mouth. Undoubtedly it awoke some memory in him, too tenuous, perhaps too general, to trace to any source in his past; but it unsettled him and haunted him, by calling to some hidden self he hardly knew existed. He said it to himself: It is the stupidest thing, but that girl attracts me. It seemed clear to him that it was not Sarah in herself who attracted him - how could she, he was betrothed - but some emotion, some possibility she symbolized. She made him aware of a deprivation. His future had always seemed to him of vast potential; and now suddenly it was a fixed voyage to a known place. She had reminded him of that.
I suppose I'd had, by the standards of that pre-permissive time, a good deal of sex for my age. Girls, or a certain kind of girl, liked me; I had a car-not so common among undergraduates in those days-and I had some money. I wasn't ugly; and even more important, I had my loneliness, which, as every cad knows, is a deadly weapon with women. My 'technique' was to make a show of unpredictability, cynicism, and indifference. Then, like a conjurer with his white rabbit, I produced the solitary heart.
The truth about any artist, however terrible, is better than the silence.... I know many writers fight fanatically to keep their published self separate from their private reality.... But I've always thought of that as something out of our social, time-serving side; not our true artistic ones. I don't see how the "lies" we write and the "lies" we live can or should be divided. They are seamless, one canvas, for me. While we live we can keep them apart, but not command the future to do the same. The outrage some Thomas Hardy fans have shown over all the revelations about the private man seems to me hypocritical in the extreme. They hugely enrich our understanding of him.... I have had to convince a number of friends and relatives that the kindest act to the [writer] is remembering them - and that all art comes from a human being, not out of mysterious thin air.(Letter to Jo Jones, September 15, 1980, arguing for the preservation of John Collier's personal papers)
She died."I had to prompt him."Soon after?"In the early hours of February the nineteenth, 1916." I tried to see the expression on his face, but it was too dark. "There was a typhoid epidemic. She was working in a hospital."Poor girl."All past. All under the sea."You make it seem present."I do not wish to make you sad."The scent of lilac."Old man's sentiment. Forgive me."There was a silence between us. He was staring into the night. The bat flitted so low that I saw its silhouette for a brief moment against the Milky Way."Is this why you never married?"The dead live."The blackness of the trees. I listened for footsteps, but none came. A suspension."How do they live?"And yet again he let the silence come, as if the silence would answer my questions better than he could himself; but just when I had decided he would not answer, he spoke."By love.
One has the choice of two views: either that the novel, along with printed-word culture in general, is moribund, or that there is something sadly shallow and blinded in our age. I know which view I hold; and the people who astound me are the ones who are sure that the first view is true. If you want omniscience, you have it there, and it ought to worry yo? you the reader who is neither critic nor write? that this omniscient contempt for print is found so widely among people who make a living out of literary dissection. Surgery is what we want, not dissection. It is not only the extirpation of the mind that kills the body; the heart will do the trick just as well.