I believe that John Fowles ranks among the half-dozen finest novelists Take a look at his final novel, A Maggot—if you can find a copy, that is. Complete summary of John Fowles’ A Maggot. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of A Maggot. A Maggot [John Fowles] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A modern narrator supplements the views of a group of eighteenth-century.

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Dreams that travel back in jjohn have been the stock in trade of this celebrated year-old English novelist through most of his 14 mmaggot of fiction and nonfiction. Time has always been Fowles’ preoccupying theme and his single question has been, “How shall one live within one’s own present moment? At home on the green Dorset coast of England, history is Fowles’ natural msggot.

He writes his fictions from a second-floor study in his eclectic 18th-Century house high on the hillside of the town of Lyme Regis. The windows open south onto his exotic garden, a sweeping harbor view of the town, and, further still, the gray-blue of the English Channel and the sky.

As curator of the local museum, he also spends much time amid the documents, dinosaur bones and photographs housed in its turreted turn-of-the-century building directly on the seafront.

The Novels of John Fowles: A Reassessment by Ted Gioia

Handling an artifact has the power to call up a past life in his imagination; the haunting eyes of a portrait can recreate the sitter in his mind. But here in his New York hotel suite there was no view and no sea sound. The noise of the traffic seven stories below washed against the tower of the hotel.


Both Fowles and his wife, Elizabeth, looked weary. New York clearly does not suit them. No, sighed Fowles, arching the eyebrows of his bearded face in classic British understatement, “I’m not really fond of New Vowles.


But he is fond of discussing history and storytelling, even here, and how they are mixed together in his new book. Listening to him is tje like entering the text of one of his novels or following him through the displays of what Elizabeth calls, with droll emphasis, “his museum.

What begins in an English public school monotone as a straightforward answer to a question is soon crammed with parenthetical information.

He adds, he corrects, he qualifies. Modern aesthetics, 18th-Century theologies, an encounter with a rat in Central Park that morning–his answer soon encompasses such seeming disparities.

Irritated with himself, he will worry at a stubborn thought–a forgotten date or the title of some long-out-of-print book. He will pause in mid-sentence and drift in a cloud of cigarette smoke, only to turn pale brown eyes on his interviewer and deliver a startlingly precise finish.

As in his books, humor and irony are subtly folded into his conversation. A remark that begins in high seriousness may end in a twinkling aside of self-mockery. One that begins on a smile may end in gentle earnestness. It weaves together arcane theology, vivid characters, some first-rate detective work, a touch of science fiction, feminism, and both historic and fictional documents.

Set in and written in a variety of 18th-Century idioms, “A Maggot” is an investigation into the fate of a curious party of travelers who journey into the deserted Southwest of England toward an essentially inexplicable event. Months later, the driven, gifted leader has utterly vanished and his mute manservant is found hanged in bizarre fashion.


Two of the travelers, who turn out to be actors hired to play a part, are shaken with suspicions of witchcraft and political heresy. And the last of the group, a young prostitute with untapped emotional depths, is reborn as a religious visionary and the mother of Ann Lee, the founder of that historically apocalyptic faith, the Shakers.

Except for the opening chapters that portray with a rich, almost cinematic immediacy the characters just before they reach their destination, the novel is a collection of depositions and letters provided by the lawyer investigating the disappearance of the party’s leader.

That young man, so it turns out, is the philosophical, heretical younger son of a great duke.

Ayscough, the lawyer, is intellectually acute and intuitively limited. Through him Fowles provides many facts–clouds of conflicting witnesses, a sense of class hostilities in 18th-Century England–and very few answers. He’s backward and conservative, and I needed that to offset the others.

There are countless questions that I would have liked to have asked that he doesn’t. But he’s the connecting link–inasmuch as the story hangs together. Stretching the Surface of Reality: Bizarre Fashion Months later, the driven, gifted leader has utterly vanished and his mute manservant is found hanged in bizarre fashion. Seizure Led to FloJo’s Death.

His scores make his case. Copyright Los Angeles Times.