Read La donna del tenente francese by John Fowles Ettore Capriolo Online


Sola, all'estremità di un molo battuto dalle tempeste, Sarah Woodruff fissa muta il mare sul quale è scomparso il tenente francese, che tutti dicono essere stato il suo amante. Condannata dall'opinione pubblica, incompresa anche da chi le sta vicino, la giovane, figura tragica e ambigua, nasconde in realtà un impenetrabile segreto, una incontenibile passione e un'ansia diSola, all'estremità di un molo battuto dalle tempeste, Sarah Woodruff fissa muta il mare sul quale è scomparso il tenente francese, che tutti dicono essere stato il suo amante. Condannata dall'opinione pubblica, incompresa anche da chi le sta vicino, la giovane, figura tragica e ambigua, nasconde in realtà un impenetrabile segreto, una incontenibile passione e un'ansia di libertà capace di travolgere tutte le ferree regole della morale vittoriana. Vittima, ma allo stesso tempo complice, di questa ribellione è Charles Smithson, un ricco paleontologo dilettante, che solo nell'abbandonarsi ciecamente all'amore troverà una ragione di vita. Pubblicato nel 1969 e ambientato un secolo prima, "La donna del tenente francese" fonde mirabilmente ironia e sentimento, attenzione alla cultura dell'epoca e un disincantato cinismo. Un racconto romantico e sovversivo in cui John Fowles sperimenta le modalità di una scrittura postmoderna, a cavallo tra passato e presente, tra echi dei grandi poeti dell'Ottocento e citazioni di Darwin, con un finale assolutamente sorprendente: una delle opere più interessanti della narrativa inglese contemporanea in cui si ritrovano inscindibilmente uniti il fascino del sogno e il disincanto della realtà....

Title : La donna del tenente francese
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9788804568292
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 510 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

La donna del tenente francese Reviews

  • Kemper
    2019-02-12 19:56

    With a title like The French Lieutenant’s Woman, it’s gotta be a romance novel with a cover featuring some Fabio-like male model in a 19th century French army uniform that’s ripped to pieces to expose his abs as some buxom wench showing a lot of thigh clings to him, and he waves a sword in the air? No?Oh, so it was the basis for some award winning movie with Meryl Streep back in the ‘80s? Then it’s got to be some boring-ass lame period piece with all kinds of proper English folk walking around with sticks up their asses as they talk about their proper English ways and how they musn't remove the sticks. Not really? Well, then what the hell is this book? It’s not what I was expecting, that’s for sure.Sarah Woodruff is a governess who has scandalized the English community of Lyme Regis by falling for a French naval officer who had been washed ashore and then left her behind after she ‘ruined‘ herself for him. I guess back in those days, a woman couldn’t just eat a bunch of ice cream, get drunk with her girlfriends and then forget about some jerk who did her wrong. Hooking up with a loser was grounds for a lifetime of people shaking their fingers at you. Sarah doesn’t even have the decency to hide her shame. She insists on going out walking by the ocean, clearly pining for Frenchie, in spite of strict orders from her pious bitch employer not to walk around where decent folk can tell what she’s thinking.Charles Smithson is a Victorian-era gentleman engaged to Ernestina and visiting her aunt in the area. After he accidentally comes across Sarah, he gets interested in her story and tries to convince her to stop making her situation worse by being so openly miserable and letting him help arrange for better employment in London where her scandal won’t be so well known. But Sarah plays a dangerous game of asking Charles for clandestine meetings for advice while acting like she has no urge to change her life. Naturally, Charles finds himself falling for her despite warnings from a local doctor that Sarah is ‘addicted to melancholia’ and may only be interested in spreading her misery around.At first, this seems like it’s going to be a pretty standard Victorian-era tragic romance. But John Fowles took some serious detours in this book. First, he openly writes it as a god-like narrator from the future who knows how silly and hypocritical a lot of English society was then. It gets even stranger when he starts writing about the writing of the story itself. He complains that characters aren’t behaving the way he thought they should. Then he begins presenting alternate versions of the plot based on decisions by the characters that vastly change how the book would end as he explains that the only fair way to end the story is to present all the ways that it possibly could end. It’s also not entirely clear about who you should be sympathizing with here. Is Sarah a woman ahead of her time, unfairly treated by a bunch of hypocrites? Or is she a slightly unbalanced woman taking a hatred of men out on Charles by gaining his pity and love at the possible cost of his reputation? Is Charles a good man living in an age that traps him with outdated ideas of duty and honor? Is he just a selfish snob who gets cold feet about his own upcoming marriage and deliberately acts stupidly to try and stop it? It could be that all of these factors are true. Or that none of them are.While I liked the writing and the way that Fowles played with the structure of a traditional novel, the problem for me is that I was so unsure about Sarah and Charles that I couldn’t ever really get engaged with them emotionally. At times I felt bad for one or both of them, and at other times, I didn’t like them at all. I ended up admiring the book more than I enjoyed it.

  • Kelly
    2019-02-01 17:03

    I think the greatest strength of this book is the utter uniqueness of it. I don't think I've ever read a book like it. It is set in the Victorian year of 1867, and yet, the sensibility of the book is thoroughly grounded in the 1960s (when it was written). The language, metaphors, and focus of the book all come from the 1960s, and the actions of the characters are all given the lens of the highly visible author- who is in fact one of the major characters of the book (much in the style of Thackeray, though more personally done here, I think).The plot itself starts off as a flimsy Victorian melodrama, if one were to remove everything but the bare skeletons of the action from it: boy meets girl, boy is engaged to girl, boy meets mysterious amazing girl, boy suffers crisis of love, moral dilemmas abound... and then it develops into something else much more modern with modern situations and dilemmas. But it is how it is described that is the best p art of the book: the focus is on the philosophies, the problems, the context of the era. Fowles is deeply involved in trying to explain the actions of his characters with pages long meditations and research into the Victorian pysche, based on thinkers, papers, popular opinions and events of the era. For example, the main character, Charles, is an amateur scientist and is a very strong Darwinist. Fowles gets involved with class issues, capitalist society, poetry, the suffrage movement, feminism, and of course, the overarching focus of the book: sexuality and its repression and unrepression.(It is here that comes my only real criticism of the book: that at times the book is very dated to the 1960s in its utter obsession with sex and bohemia and "fuck the system!" kind of rhetoric. Which still rings with many today, so perhaps it isn't a problem for all. I just found it sort of threw me out of the magic of the story when he tried to make his characters 1960s type heroes.)Another large and fascinating part of the book is that John Fowles allows us to see him at work. He shows us the road not taken in statements like (but much more eloquently put than this): "Well... I could do this.. but that would betray the character.. but it is the formula.. where shall I go from here?" He lets the reader see behind the curtain, and see his process, lets them know that he recognizes what he is doing and what he could have done or should have done by convention. He muses on what the character might want, or what he might want, and the various conventions that an author has at his disposal to most effectively display what he wants to convey. I did not think that it threw me out of the book at all. It made it even more interesting, actually. I'd recommend this book for even people who don't usually like Victorian literature. It has so modern a voice and discusses so many issues that we find of relevance today that perhaps your eyerolling can be kept to a minimum.

  • Simona Bartolotta
    2019-02-16 18:45

    “Because.... because, I do not know, I live among people the world tells me are kind, pious, Christian people. And they seem to me crueller than the cruellest heathens, stupider than the stupidest animals.”The French Lieutenant's Woman is a baffling book. It baffled me and I have no doubt it has left a trail of baffled readers behind it. I wonder why no one has blurbed it with “The French Lieutenant's Woman, proudly baffling people since 1969” yet. It would be the most honest blurb in history for sure. Even stranger, I read it slowly, closely, eyes and ears and brain cells wide open, and yet I feel as if I have understood nothing, as if I haven't understood the book. Which is just as possible, as we've already established the book has long set itself the very specific goal of making you question your own wits. And yet, it does it without malice. It doesn't take pleasure in your stupidity, it doesn't gloat over it. It doesn't even pity it, nor sympathize with it. No. It is simply indifferent to it. You wouldn't feel as stupid if it showed to care, and then it would amuse no one.Because The French Lieutenant's Woman is a microcosm on its own. It needs nothing and no one, and no matter how many times the God of this world will address you, reader, because the truth is that to it, to Him, you do not exist. You can be an Ideal Reader at best, but please leave yourself outside, thank you very much. There's only so much space in here.“The rival you both share is myself.”In my mind, in believe, this novel will always be two: the metafictional experiment and the human story. There is no hierarchy between the two, and I will always be able to relive the book adopting, in turn, one of these two perspectives. Both, if I feel like wearing my brains out.But at the end of the day, I find I don't care. As long as I can relive it, and reread it, and think about it, I don't care if it so cruelly escapes me still. I'll just take whatever little it is willing to give.

  • Darwin8u
    2019-01-30 19:54

    “I am infinitely strange to myself.” ― John Fowles, The French Lieutenant's WomanThe reason I am drawn to literature, to art, to books considered to be classics, is to watch some middle-aged, bearded man put on a pair of (excuse the flamboyant analogy) skates and suddenly pitch himself into the center of the ring and pull off a triple Salchow. I love risk-taking, experimental literature. With 'The French Lieutenant's Woman', Fowles is boldly moving in a lot of directions at once (pushing down fourth walls [Chapter 13], jumping forward and backward in time, throwing himself into the path of the protagonist Charles) and manages to control it all with a sharp elegance that is breathtaking. He (re)creates a Victorian period novel and then deconstructs, dissects and parodies it while we watch. He bends into it elements of Darwinian and Marxist thought (two revolutionary Men who lived during this period, but are never displayed in the works of the Brontës, Hardy, Gaskell, Dickens or Trollope. Doing so, he subverts both the age and the novel. 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' is a work of genius and a book that teased and challenged me on almost every page as I read it.

  • Maria Clara
    2019-01-30 16:13

    ¿Puede un libro compararse a un té? ¿Puede uno beber sus páginas a sorbos, en una lluviosa tarde de invierno? ¿Puede uno saborear cada palabra como si fuera una gota de una infusión aún por descubrir? A veces, uno abandona la última página de un libro enamorado de sus protagonistas; otras veces, con la sensación de haber perdido el tiempo; y pocas, con un sabor entre amargo y dulce. En este caso, ni me he enamorado de sus protagonistas ni he tenido la sensación de haber perdido el tiempo y mucho menos un sabor agridulce al terminar la historia. Bien al contrario. Y, aun así, sé que esta historia me acompañara por mucho tiempo y que, tal vez, recuerde a Charles con una sonrisa y me imagine un futuro de libertad para su alma... Sé que, al cerrar el libro, voy a extrañar los pequeños sorbos de este maravilloso té.

  • Deniz Balcı
    2019-02-19 22:54

    Son zamanlarda okuduğum en farklı roman diyebilirim. Fowles'ın şimdiye kadar okuduğum eserleri içinde en sevdiğim açıkçası "Büyücü". Halen o kitabın etkisini üzerimden atamadım. Fakat bu kitabında çok sarsıcı bir etkisi oldu üzerinde. Kitabı okurken yer yer bu romanın nasıl bu kadar önemli hale geldiğini sorgulama ihtiyacı hissediyordum aslında. Kendi kendime Victoryen Dönemi içerisinde postmadambovaryci bir kitap okuduğumu sanıyordum ve Sarah karakterini de Madam Bovary'e bir alternatif olarak önemli görüyordum. Ancak Fowles'ın romancı olarak her zaman nüfuzunu hissettirerek kitabı yazması, ancak bir süre sonra romancının yarıtanrıcı rolünü oynamayı başaramayıp, kontrolün kaleminden çıkması; karakterlerin kendi istedikleri hayatları yaşaması beni kaba tabiriyle durur etti. Kitap bu özelliği ile deneysel bir yazım tarzına sahip, modern romancılık içinde eşsiz bir yere konumlandırılabilir. Üzerinde fazlaca düşünme gereksimini doğurtuyor.Kitabın biçimsel ve anlatısal özellikleri dışında, çok ciddi bir tarihi tarafı da bulunmakta. Viktoryen Dönemi İngiltere'si, o dönemin kültür ve sosyal yapısı, insanların davranış biçimleri, farklı terminolojilerin o yıllardaki kullanım durumları vb. gibi konularda sağlıklı tespitler yapmanızı sağlıyor. Ne diyeyim, Fowles gelmiş geçmiş en büyük yazarlar arasına adını yazdırmış. Onun dehasını ancak takdir etmek düşer.

  • Perry
    2019-02-05 17:48

    Once You Show Me Your Magic's Secrets, The Magic is Gone[3.5 rounded up to 4]You should know first off that I'm no fan of novels in which the author inserts him/herself by making crafty little comments that serve to remind me he made the damn thing up and/or to entertain the author by allowing her to toy with the conventions of storytelling. I come to a novel to read a story that speaks truth and to lose myself in another world, and I hope the novel is a really good one that provokes me to me learn something about myself and/or the human condition. To accomplish this--call me old-fashioned--I need to be able to suspend my disbelief in the author's fantasies. While I am intrigued by how writers create stories, I find it hard to see truth in fiction wherein the writer makes contemporary comments and otherwise reminds me that he made the whole thing up. I can only think of one novel in which I enjoyed this type of telling: Immortality by Milan Kundera. On the other hand, I didn't like his The Book of Laughter and Forgetting because he overly cogitates on his thought processes in creating the related stories as he is in the process of telling them.To me, many novels of this ilk amount to a form of intellectual "dick-measuring" exercises, whereby one author gets to show the others how smart, cute and clever he can be. I try to come up with a good analogy, but the best I can do at the moment is saying it's like going to a Vegas magic show--knowing, obviously, it is not really magic, but enjoying it because the magician tricks my eyes into believing the impossible--only to have the Houdini show me how he is deceiving me as he performs the "magic"!!! Here, the narrator tells a century-old story of a Victorian love affair in 1867. Charles Smithson, an up-and-comer of mainly middle-class means, is engaged to Ernestina, a well-to-do innocent vacuous young lady. Soon, he swoons over Sarah Woodruff, a beautiful and poor woman who was recently jilted by her lover, a French lieutenant, and whom the townspeople treat as a whore outcast. The story was intriguing as far as it went as fiction... until Fowles began playing around and ruining the truth of the story for me. Fowles gives the reader three different endings. I am not sure how I can fully spoil the ending unless I tell you....the three distinct endings. Yet, maybe the fact of three endings persuades you to read it since the chances are good that you will like at least one of three.

  • Whitaker
    2019-02-07 23:48

    The writer slides a blank sheet of paper into his typewriter. His fingers hover over the "asdfjkl;" like a pianist ready to tackle the Moonlight Sonata. Then he withdraws them and gazes pensively into the distance at the grey sea and even greyer sea wall keeping its salty waters at bay. He had had a vision in his head of a woman walking by the sea, all shrouded in the cloak. Something about her called to him. He wants to start writing but something is stopping him. Now you might wonder what it is that is preventing him from going on. Why it is me. I'm unsure whether he uses a typewriter or should I have him using a pen, and if a pen, what kind? A biro? Those were popular in the late 1960's I think. He is also, of course, struggling with the notion of what it means to write. After all, this was the time of the post-modernists. A writer couldn't write and be a serious writer without acknowledging the art of writing itself. And he most definitely wants to be a serious writer. He thinks, "I think Meryl Streep should play this woman. She'd be absolutely perfect as…as… Hmmm, I haven't given her a name yet."(1) Suddenly, the writer turns around, his back to the typewriter. "Oi! You there! You can't go around telling me what to do. I have my own volition, I do. I'm going to write about this woman, and she's going to be this Victorian lass. She's beautiful and she slept with this French lieutenant, or at least, I think she does. And actually, I'd much prefer Dolly Parton in the role, if you don't mind. Also, she's going to marry Charles. Or maybe she doesn't. I haven't decided yet. No, I think I'll have my cake and eat it too."Er, hang on, a minute. This is strange. I'm the one in charge here. John Fowles has already written this book. It's actually 2010."Well, the John Fowles in your mind hasn't yet, has he? That's why you have me sitting here before this bloody typewriter, speaking in this fake-o English accent, staring out the bleeding window." Oh dear, this really isn't going the way I intended. I'm just going to close Microsoft Word(TM) now. "You can't do that. That won't get rid of me. I'll live on forever in your mind. Mwa ha ha ha ha(2)(1) Of course, he didn't really think that. I just made it up, but I do want to nod at the fact that this book was later made into a film with Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons.(2) For a far better version, see The Guardian's "The Digested Classic".

  • Rowena
    2019-02-07 20:55

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The story wasn't what I expected it to be at all. I expected the story to be similar to Madame Bovary and the writing style of the author to be more Victorian, seeing as the story was set in that era, but it's actually quite modern. This book made me an instant fan of John Fowles. He writes very intelligently and although he plays the role of narrator in the 19th Century, his perception is that of a 20th Century writer, which makes the book even more interesting. He also includes his opinions on 19th Century society which I believe enrich the story.

  • Trevor
    2019-02-09 20:10

    All writers create worlds that do not exist – so there should be no qualms that this novel recreates a world, a very Victorian world, a world populated with its own people, all now long dead, that had its own writers and chroniclers, all also now very much dead, that had its own ideas and tendencies and fears and preferences and prejudices, all of which we can no longer now really hold as our own, should there? (Or was the gap too long for you to remember that the subject of that sentence was some vague and generalised ‘qualms’?) Authors are Gods – if they choose they can write about things that quite simply they could never know the first thing about: how it feels to be that woman standing over there in her billowing cape blowing out against the wind, what it means to be dead and yet to not expect judgement, what the rush of power is like in having just created an entire universe with all time and all space and all actions that shall ever take place therein laid bare and translucent before one. Although, more frequently, authors tend to speculate on that woman, any woman, as if it was she that was lying bare and translucent before them, much more that than they ever do in contemplating the hidden mysteries of universes yet uncreated. But, even so, don't in the least confuse that for modesty on their part. The inevitability of female desire for the all-too-male creations of these male fantasists, even if only realised in a spurting, premature ejaculation is not expected to be followed by an apology on his part, (“I’m sorry, I had hoped” and then trailed off) but rather by her saying, ‘Thank you, my dearest, for the best eighteen seconds of my life”. And sometimes the world, the real world of living, breathing free agents that we imagine ourselves to inhabit, stands aghast or in awe or terrified by the worlds these minor demigods call forth into existence. “Look”, world says, “here is a man, a novelist, a writer of fictions, and he has summoned before us the very essence of Victorian England – and look, here are parts of France, Italy and the United States all brought equally back to life – he has made them even more real than was possible for the previous writers of fiction who lived in those times, he shows us this world as it must be seen, by our very modern eyes. Here the world stands – an age eviscerated, no, rather an age animated once again, only it is better this time for it has been brought back Frankenstein-like for our benefit by one of our own.”To me, the chapter of this book that best explains what is going on here – besides the melodrama which must sustain the interest of the readers less concerned with the philosophical discussions that proceeds apace, at once by sleight-of-hand, or then tentatively hidden, just sideways from the page, or suddenly bold as brass and perhaps a little too upfront – is Chapter 13. A quick read of that chapter will not tell you whether or not you will like to read this book. It is too different from what the rest of the text appears to be and so will offer little help there in your decisions – but it is ‘what the book is about’, if, that is, the book is about anything. Perhaps I should ask questions – although, I hope you don’t expect such a catechism to help you. What is the position of the author when he intrudes into the world of the novel he is writing (I’ll stick with ‘he’ here after a chat I had with my daughter yesterday about precisely this concern with pronouns, but also because in this case the author is all too very decidedly a ‘he’)? How much, even as the omnipotent creator of this little world, does he really know, or is he allowed to know, or does he choose to know? To what extent is the author free in his own creation? On this last point I can illustrate with one of my favourite instances in the book. It is the line describing one of the characters being discovered after her long absence – she is with a child – and the author would dearly love to have her found pushing a pram (see, the image leaps off the page even if you haven’t read the book) but he can’t because prams were not invented for another ten years. Such are the authors’ scruples. (don't for a moment think I've misplaced that apostrophe - fellow authors).Oh, excellent, we think, we readers (or should I only speak for myself?). “Verisimilitude!” we say, if we are familiar with that word – but we think something very like it even if we are not. Nothing better than to have a pretend Victorian England that confines itself to the constraints of that other, that very real Victorian England, to that time, to the ‘facts’ of that other imagined world we call history. And so, given this verisimilitude, just how was she with the child if she was not pushing a pram? The negative image is all that remains, I’m afraid. In my memory the fictional character still pushes the nonexistent, the not yet invented, pram, despite all authorial warnings against my forming just such an image. Although, clearly that was his intent all along.There are things that you will be told about this book before you read it that will not prove to be true. Firstly, you will be told that the book has two endings – there are, in fact, three endings. The first of the three is probably the ending that most closely reflects the ending we all choose in living out our own lives – or is that just me being rather cruel about you here? It is, after all, the dreariest ending of the three – the one even the author can only bring himself to rush through as if with a bad taste in his mouth. So just how cruel is it that I am being towards you and your dreadfully predictable life? My implying that you follow the same well-trodden path that convention sets out before you, and in making that endlessly dull path appear again before you simply in my mentioning that particular ending, that generally unmentioned ending of this book? It is, after all, the ending most readers choose to ignore when they say this book has only two endings – there must be a reason for that. A not very nice reason, I suspect.But I have no right to mock you for the grey, one-foot-at-a-time, blandness of your trudging walk along the gravel stoned pathway of your existence – I am just as constrained and just as restricted as you. The mere fact I sit here rattling these chains may well draw attention to them, but like your chains, the ones you may prefer to hide or that you struggle to keep silent, the ones that nevertheless pinch against your wrists and nip the bony flesh of your ankles, these my chains here are still firmly in place, still just as locked tight – and whether I choose for them to make a noise in my rattling them hardly matters one way or the other. Drawing attention to bonds in no way loosens them, in no way frees me.Secondly, you will be told that much of this novel is a playing out of very modern concerns within a vividly imagined Victorian England. I’m not so sure this is the case. If there is one motif in fiction that I particularly like to trace my fingers along in times of idle contemplation it is the idea that we all want to live within the fairytale of love, but that love repeatedly refuses to be confined within the very fairytale it itself promises. Rather, the greatest efforts (meagre as even these inevitably prove to be, truth be told) that we exert in the name of love never amount to what we expected them to. It is as if we would turn to the object of our love and say: “Look, all of this I have done, this entire universe I have created, and all this stands testament to my adoration of you! Can’t you see, can’t you tell what this, what all this has cost me?” And there it is – our gaze turns and returns yet again and always back to ourselves. Even as we exult that other name, that name that was the word that issued forth to create the entire universe, she becomes someone else, something else, a cipher we have used to hide our very own image in her name, Pygmalion like. A thing of mirrors and reflections. For writers are truly Gods.This book is taught in high schools to 18 year olds – god pity them – and I’m nearly certain hours and hours of discussion is spent discussing the motivation of this French Lieutenant’s woman, why and if she lead the protagonist astray – but this really is not a book about her at all. Her motivations, her desires, her very being is of secondary interest at best. This is a book about a man who just wants to have some control, who wants to make a world where he is the hero of his own story, not the lackey, not the person indebted to others, not below his own wife, not caught. Is that man called Charles or John, I can’t remember which – or did I ever know? And he sees a woman who he thinks he understands, for he understands that she has somehow, despite the impossibility of such a choice, chosen to be herself, so he decides, outside of conventions, that she might be someone who just might be able to show him a way out. But there is no way out, really. We do not have time machines – we live decidedly within our own time – we do not get to be ahead of our time, whatever that could possible mean, not even when we are characters created in a world future to the one we are asked to live within by someone gifted by time’s passing and with that most singular power of hindsight, we still can only live out our own lives and we live them in the here and now, whatever here and now means (or whenever that means, perhaps) with ourselves barely a single thread in a tapestry all too great for us to even take in. It is our substance, even as it bumps up against the world, that hides from us how essentially ephemeral we are – unless, unless our shadow somehow stands black-against-white in some text somewhere, almost real, almost life-like. Otherwise, we remain, at best, the major character in the lonely narrative that forever runs foregrounded in our own minds, if nowhere else.So, which ending did I prefer? Oh, but they are all the same – we live, we die and all paths taken lead inevitably to the grave. A much more interesting question is – is this fiction? Or rather, should we really care if this is fiction? Or perhaps even, should we care if this is ‘true’? Or, to ask the same question one last time, to what extent is the ‘made up’ even more true than the lived?At least, that is what I think this book is about.

  • Xavier Guillaume
    2019-01-25 23:09

    Sarah is one of the most remarkable female characters of modern literature. She's a mixture of Jane Eyre, Hester Prynne, and Ophelia, a woman who has experienced much hardship, yet is strong and steadfast, like a sad statue, and slightly mad. Although, I'm torn, is it inaccurate to call Sarah mad? I suppose one could write a whole academic paper on that topic alone. She's not crazy to the Ophelian point where she belongs in a mental institution; perhaps, today we would just label her as having depression, which causes one to act a little illogically from time to time when our emotions are out of balance. Yet, I digress because the most important aspect of the novel (to me) is not whether or not Sarah is crazy, it is its ability to transport myself to another world, 1860s Southwest England on the coastal line, dotted with rocks and cliffs, deep woods, farms, a barren area, and a small town of provincial folk. You must read it. John Fowles has a knack for describing the scenic and has a loquacious ability to describe history in an enrapturing and oftentimes humorous way.What's remarkable about this book is how keen Fowles is in describing people. I would be greatly surprised if in his life he didn't spend hours of the day simply watching people and observing their mannerisms. (There is one part of the book where Charles is sleeping on a train, and a stranger watches him in a much perversely violating way, which gives me the gut feeling Fowles may admit to have done the same.)Unforgettably, in just the second chapter there is a notable scene where we see Sarah for the first time. This is one of my most favorite parts of the book, and I'm willing to share you this one because it happens so early on."She turned to look at him—or as it seemed to Charles, through him. It was not so much what was positively in that face which remained with him after that first meeting, but all that was not as he had expected; for theirs was an age when the favored feminine look was the demure, the obedient, the shy. Charles felt immediately as if he had trespassed; as if the Cobb belonged to that face, and not to the Ancient Borough of Lyme. It was not a pretty face, like Ernestina's. It was certainly not a beautiful face, by any period's standard or taste. But it was an unforgettable face, and a tragic face. Its sorrow welled out of it as purely, naturally and unstoppably as water out of a woodland spring. There was no artifice there, no hypocrisy, no hysteria, no mask; and above all, no sign of madness. The madness was in the empty sea, the empty horizon, the lack of reason for such sorrow; as if the spring was natural in itself, but unnatural in welling from a desert."Great Scott! That passage remarkably describes a simple look, but it does so so poetically that it becomes unforgettable. It is the moment we see Sarah for the first time, and without the narrator describing specific physical features, he allows the reader to envision her spirit with utter clarity, with just the ghost of her face staring back at us, just hovering there, and of course there is the natural sadness of it all. Also, I love that there is a lack of madness in her face; it forces me to believe that she is not mad; she is simply situated so close to the cliffs and the sea, the environments that really are mad, so much so that others mistakenly perceive that she is so too. It's really all quite incredible.I strongly recommend reading this book. I easily rank it in my top ten books of all time if not top five. The book is oftentimes hilarious too because it describes extremely silly, conservative people, who cause me to roll my eyes back because their societal mores are illogical to the 9th degree. Heaven forbid if men and women congregate together in a building that is not a Church!What else is remarkable is there are two endings to this novel. There I said it, and perhaps this spoiled it for you, but it's incredibly interesting in my mind. Perhaps there are even three endings in this novel, but I'm not sure if one would count the third. Sure, why not? The third seems equally important, so there are three endings and if that in itself does not capture your attention, I am not sure what would.Fowles speaks not only to my literary heart, but to my spiritual heart. It does not seem hard for me to imagine that time is an illusion and the future is elusive. It is constantly changing with every action of our daily lives, and it stands to reason that there can be infinite endings of our own lives, and each of these paths play out on separate dimensions, which only God or an author can see play out. I mention an author because is not an author like God? An author creates a world on paper, and he or she creates the people in it, and has control over their actions and lives, but does God have control? Is there not free will?The narrator of the story describes this bit fluently midway through the novel. He, the narrator, or Fowles alter-ego, describes how the characters themselves have gained control in the novel by coming to life. He can no longer tell them what to do, but they are telling him how they are to act. This side-note in the story is rather remarkable, and is all part of Fowles genius. To break the fourth wall by addressing us with his thought-process in the writing of his novel, and with such ease, and with such profound importance, this is a skill not to be taken lightly. It makes the literary nerd inside of me giggle in delight, and I hope, if you have an appreciation for literature, that it does the same for you.Read it! Please do!

  • K.D. Absolutely
    2019-02-10 20:53

    Definitely an engaging read because of the way it is crafted. John Fowles is the implied narrator that is revealed in the end and through a toss of coin presents two possible endings to the story. I have read 1,200+ books so far and I have not seen anything like this until this book. This alone firms up my belief that this book deserves its inclusion in the Time 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century and its seemingly permanent inclusion in the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.Sarah Woodruff is the mysterious woman who is so beautiful men who meet her could not resist her charm. Because of her beauty those who do not catch her fancy spread malicious gossips about her and start to call her the "French Lieutenant's Whore" or more politely the "French Lieutenant's Woman." She meets her lover, Charles who is engaged with Ernestina, and when they make love Charles finds out that Sarah is still a virgin that proves that Sarah is not a whore. Up until this point, the story seems to be simple love story against the Victorian backdrop. Then Fowles starts to play on the plot that after presenting an already plausible ending, provides another two that are more complex and intriguing. The skillful handling of these two possible endings is something that ordinary novelist could pull through. This is my first Fowles and this book made me want to line up his other books that are also included in the Sarah Woodruff as your femme fatale is similar to Tess of the d'Ubervilles. Her only mistake is to have an irresistible beauty in the midst of the repressive Victorian era. The question on the double-standard of morality can't help readers that the situation we have now is a lot better than during that era in England. At some point, I pity Sarah for being to submissive to the morals during that time. I thought that she could have more compassion if she fights for her happiness in the end. That's why I prefer the second ending (the first alternative). However, the twist in the end still gives some question of whether Sarah will actually be finally happy. But then, I don't think that Fowles intended to give everything away to the reader. Fowles seems to want his readers to choose for themselves their preferred ending and settle among themselves the twists that he presents towards the end.One of the more stylish books that I've read. One of the novels that I will never forget.

  • huzeyfe
    2019-01-31 16:48

    Okuduğum ilk John Fowles romanı. Aslında sıra bana kalsa Koleksiyoncu, Büyücü ve Fransız Teğmen’in Kadını olarak planlardım okumamı -ki zaten öyle niyetlenmiştim- ama grupta Mart ayı okuması için seçilince planımı birazcık değiştirme yoluna gittim.Yazar Viktorya Dönemi’de kurguladığı bu romanı gerek o dönemin insan tiplerini ve onların karakteristik özelliklerini ve gerekse de toplumun genel olarak durumunu -kendisi o dönemde yaşamamış olsa da- çok güzel yansıtmış. Başlarda -daha çok kendi durumumla alakalı- akmamasından mütevellit kitabı elimde bir hafta geveledikten sonra 200 sayfaya ancak gelebilmeme rağmen kalan 270 sayfayı bir gecede bitirdim. Çünkü elimden bırakamadım. Ertesi günün de tatil olmasını fırsat bilerek tek oturusta bitirmekten büyük keyif aldım.Kitap ile ilgili ayrıntılı bir inceleme yazmayı düşünüyorum ama şimdi bunu yapamayacağım için genel bir giriş şeklinde yazıp burada noktalı virgül koyuyorum;

  • Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
    2019-02-16 16:49

    Let’s call it 3.25 stars. This novel is basically one big gimmick. Fowles writes well and has done his research, so he pulls off the gimmick fairly well. But it is still a gimmick, and the story itself isn’t strong enough to stand on its own. This review will contain some SPOILERS.The story consists of a simple love triangle involving Charles (the gentleman), Ernestina (his proper young fiancée) and Sarah (the mysterious “fallen” woman). It makes a thin plot for a 467-page book; what sets the book apart is the intrusive narrator. The book is set in the 1860s, but Fowles writes it explicitly from a 1960s perspective, commenting on aspects of life at the time, and then veers off to talk about the writing of the story itself and the different ways it could possibly end.It is an unusual choice, and in that sense it’s interesting, though in this day of author blogs, a “behind the scenes” look at the author’s process isn’t the novelty it may have been in pre-Internet days. As a reader who is interested in history, I did enjoy the author’s stepping in with asides like, “the Victorians talked a good game about chastity, but actually the number of brothels per capita was enormous,” or “let me tell you how this landscape has changed in the last 100 years” or “here are some weird household implements from the 1860s.” Historical fiction is generally expected to wear its research lightly, with the result that readers are often too busy identifying with the characters to learn much about the setting. This book doesn’t have those constraints, so the tidbits about the era are interesting, and Fowles writes well enough to get away with the occasional digression, expounding on his opinions of the differences between the two time periods.But then we come to Sarah. Fowles tells us outright that he doesn’t know what’s going through her head – it shows, and that’s a real weakness, given that she’s the book’s second most prominent character. At first, Charles sees her as a simple “fallen woman,” ashamed and pining for the eponymous French lieutenant, who seduced and then left her. Cliché, but comprehensible. Then we learn that she never loved the guy at all; rather, she suffers from depression and feelings of isolation, and “ruined” herself on purpose to create an external cause for her outcast status and exempt herself from society’s expectations for respectable women. Now we are getting somewhere; this is what I want from literary fiction. But then we find out . . . that it was all a charade, and actually she just goes around faking maladies all the time, in hopes that a man will eventually appear, be overwhelmed by a sense of protectiveness and fall in love with her, so that she can . . . leave him? What? The author attempts to support this by having Charles read some 19th century psychological treatise claiming this is known female behavior and possibly caused by sexual repression. Which is clearly bunk in light of what we now know about mental illness, and leaves us with a nonsensical character, who may have engineered the whole plot to get back at men, via Charles, for the French lieutenant (whom she didn’t love anyway?) leaving her. Because that makes total sense. Or maybe she didn’t, and was actually motivated by . . . what? Who knows?At any rate, if you love metafiction, you should probably give this book a whirl. If you don’t, though, the story isn’t particularly strong, and to me a basic task of fiction is the creation of a work that can be enjoyed simply for its plot and/or characters. So, while not by any means a poorly-written book, this isn’t one I’m likely to recommend.

  • Roman Clodia
    2019-02-05 16:48

    Neo-Victorian seems like a modern genre (The Crimson Petal and the White, Fingersmith) but Fowles did it earlier (1969) and decisively. Here he gives us a pastiche of the Victorian courtship-and-marriage story while simultaneously deconstructing the genre, Victorian culture and the ideologies which both forged and challenged the age. In the foreground is the eminently-acceptable betrothal of Charles and Ernestina, she the heiress of an upmarket tradesman (we find out late in the book that he seems to own something like Selfridges), he the heir of a rich and titled uncle - but surrounding them are figures who serve to decentre this typical Victorian scenario: the servants Sam and Mary who have aspirations and plans of their own, most especially the titular figure of Sarah Woodruff, a woman searching for a role for herself in a repressive society that can't easily accommodate an independent woman. What really makes the book, though, is the postmodern narrative voice which inserts itself into the story with the mindset and cultural baggage of 1969: not just a retrospective view of Victorian game-changer thinkers such as Freud, Marx and Darwin but also replete with the theoretical stance of Barthes who is name-checked and his compatriots. The chapter epigraphs work as paratexts which reflect ironically on the story being told: a historical note on how women outnumbered men in the period, for example, prefacing a chapter which is all about the Victorian woman's culturally-sanctioned search for a husband.Amidst the literary playfulness and use of intertextual references (Persuasion, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Madame Bovary, the child-wives of Dickens) are some very cool and pointed narrative insertions about, for example, the sexual frustration of Victorian gentleman and the huge community of prostitutes who served to enable and police the madonna/whore dichotomy that abounded in the period. The final scenes set in the 'debauched' Pre-Raphaelite household of Gabriel Rossetti offers up both an alternative, forward-looking view of the Victorians as well as stretching what that term 'Victorian' might encompass. All this and a gripping story, too - a modern classic, for sure.

  • Briynne
    2019-01-26 20:10

    Fantastic book, and not at all what I expected. I was expecting a contemporary Victorian novel - perhaps a "Scarlett Letter" written in the 1880s. Imagine my surprise upon finding out that, in fact, its this weird, fascinating, post-modern version of a Victorian novel written in the 1960s. So cool. The author narrates his story in an unusual way; it's funny because he goes out of his way to make you remember that it's not just a story, but a story he made up and that he is telling, complete with historical anecdotes and sidebars. After his first unexpected intrusion into the story, I worried that I might hate it and sort of (ineffectively) shushed him, hoping it might not happen again. Oddly enough, old Johnny grew on me and as I kept reading the book, I developed a strange sense of having a conversation with him. For the story itself, I enjoyed it. It was melodramatic and moody and lots of fun. That Sarah is a tricky one - I admit I only half understood her motivations by the end of the book. And poor Charles. He's such an unlikely figure to land in a situation of romantic intrigue. The scene with the "other" Sarah is actually quite sweet, in a non-traditional sort of way. Sam is probably my favorite character, phonetically-written Cockney accent notwithstanding; you have to love a scheming, ambitious servant. Check it out if you haven't - it's a lovely book.

  • Lidia
    2019-01-26 23:07

    4,5. He disfrutado mucho de esta lectura. El mérito lo tiene Fowles, que ha jugado conmigo, se ha reído de sus personajes pero también los ha perfilado de manera impecable, me ha enseñado una época, la victoriana, y toda su hipocresía y sus formalismos. Protagonistas complejos. Una narración con detalle, con ironía, con humor y con pasión.Ahora me falta ver la película (aunque no es una adaptación total de la novela).Recomendadísima. Abstenerse todos aquellos que no disfruten con la ironía.

  • El
    2019-02-15 22:12

    I have now read the first three books written by John Fowles, in the order of publication, without even trying. I love when things like that happen.What I adore about Fowles is that he wrote these novels that seem like mere novels on the outside, but on the inside they are filled with art and beauty and some incredible genius. At first I thought this one would be straightforward in comparison to the first two books (The Collector and The Magus), and initially I had some trouble getting into the story (though ultimately it turns out that I was just coming down with a plague that didn't let up until... oh, whatever, it's still sort of going on). But when I did get into the story, it's when I started to realize that the genius of Fowles was just more subtle in this story.The most obvious fact is that this is a Victorian novel written in 1969. But it's not just historical fiction by a traditional definition. The narrator is omniscient and references anachronistic tidbits (like Nazis! and computers!) and at first I was sort of bugged. Like what is Fowles doing, getting lazy on me? No! That's his genius, dammit, he snuck up on me.The other stuff that blows my mind are sort of complicated and totally spoilers, so I won't go into all of it here because that would be jerkface of me. But the ending is totally worth it, I didn't see any of it coming to the conclusions that it did, and I love the sense of ambiguity that the reader is left with by the last page.I haven't seen the movie yet, though undoubtedly I will bump that up on my Netflix/library queue, and will be back with my thoughts on it. Right now I cannot imagine that it could be done as artfully as the book, though the fact that Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep play Charles Smithson and Sarah Woodruff respectively speaks highly of the film and I can't imagine it sucking exactly. I just wonder how the ending will come across.So the non-spoiler-y things that I can talk about are all the same sorts of nerdy stuff that attracted me to The Magus specifically. Fowles knew art and beauty which makes me all squirmy because I love seeing references (and smart ones) about my favorite artists, paintings, museums, whatever. It's like Fowles had a map of my brain and my heart and pulled pieces out and put them into his stories, well before I even was born, because that's the sort of postmodernist writer Fowles was. If anyone could do something like that, it would be Fowles.There is a painting by Pisanello in the National Gallery that catches exactly such a moment: St. Hubert in an early Renaissance forest, confronted by birds and beasts. The saint is shocked, almost as if the victim of a practical joke, all his arrogance dowsed by a sudden drench of Nature's profoundest secret: the universal parity of existence.(p191)He also plays with time and memory in this book, which is sort of fascinating to me under normal circumstances. Fowles recognized that we all create our own realities, whether how we perceive the world around us or how we behave and/or how we portray ourselves to others so they have a specific perception of us and, in turn, our reality. All cool stuff because, of course, he was exactly right about all of it.Sometimes, in some cathedral or art gallery, he would for a moment dream Sarah beside him. After such moments he might have been seen to draw himself up and take a deep breath. It was not only that he forbade himself the luxury of a vain nostalgia; he became increasingly unsure of the frontier between the real Sarah and the Sarah he had created in so many such dreams: the one Eve personified, all mystery and love and profundity, and the other a half-scheming, half-crazed governess from an obscure seaside town. He even saw himself coming upon her again - and seeing nothing in her but his own folly and delusion.(p336)We all have these creations in our mind of the people around us which are only partly true based on our own thoughts and beliefs and wants and needs. Essentially we're all lying to ourselves, but I guess it's okay because everyone does it. Not out of malice, by the way, just out of human nature. That's just how our minds work because it's the only way we can live with ourselves.

  • Cphe
    2019-01-31 15:46

    I know that I read this one many years ago but couldn't remember very much about it. I appreciated it more with this second reading many years later. An unusual delivery with the story set in Victorian times with a modern day twist. Charles Smithson, a man torn between his future marriage and duty to Ernestina and his lust for the more earthy and forbidden Sarah Woodruff, the French Lieutenants Woman. Poor Charles torn between his wallet, position and his heart. When reading this novel I felt more empathy towards Charles than with Sarah, she seemed more removed from the reader, more enigmatic in her motives, thoughts and deeds.For this reader however it was Mrs Poultenay, on the fast track to reach the pearly gates who stole the show. I don't feel that this is a book for everybody but it was different, certainly not what I remembered.

  • Banushka
    2019-02-07 21:11

    büyücü'den sonra en çok merak ettiğim romanı buydu fowles'un. viktorya dönemi ingilteresini tüm iki yüzlülüğüyle anlatırken bir aşk hikâyesini kuruyor. bunu da okura anlatarak yapıyor, hem tanrı anlatıcı oluyor, hem de postmodern romanlardaki gibi araya girip okurla konuşuyor, açıklamalar yapıyor... romanın sonu da bambaşka bir yaratıcılık örneği.kurgu ve anlatım olarak büyücü'den çok daha ileride ama viktorya dönemi ingilteresi ne sıkıcıymış be kardeşim :/bu arada o dönemde yaşamış darwin ve marks'ın adı bol bol geçiyor romanda :)

  • MacK
    2019-01-25 18:08

    I'm considering having t-shirts made.They will either be a hodgepodge of John Fowles quotes that I find tremendously thought provoking and profound, a tour date of the freaky head-trips his books have put me on, or quite simply I (Heart) John Fowles.I don't like this book nearly as much as the other two I've already read this year The Magus or The Collector, and I still think it's better than most everything else out there.Part of this stems from the fact that I, like Fowles, am a Literary nerd and so, adore the fact that in his book about Victorian Romance he both mimics the style of Victorians, while mocking their sensibilities and honoring their break-throughs in philosophy and the arts. At times this hampers his style, confining himself within such narrow paramters is the only fault I find, and, even then he breaks free with such startling regularlity that the only problem is the jarring realization that you have not been reading Dickens, but Fowles the whole time.His meditations on the creative process continue here, as do his criticisms of the idle rich and the foolish hobgoblin of "duty" that so haunts young men trying to do "right" in the world. All of these themes are presented with such candor and sympathetic honesty that Fowles is quite clearly both the young student and the wise counselor he so often choses as his primary characters.Through all of this, his witty turns of phrase and charming honesty create a latter day Wilde in my mind, while the progression of the plot invites the reader to personalize the distant events.It continues to astound me that so superb a novelist should be so absent from American curriculum. Perhaps I'm wrong, perhaps he's standard reading and I just came from ill-informed systems.Or perhaps I should come home, armed with the books, and a box of t-shirts.

  • Lars Egler
    2019-02-13 15:58

    I know this book is supposed to be all quirky post-modern/Victorian and that lots of people think it's amazing. Me... not so much. I just got the impression that the author was just a little too pleased with himself and his interjections into the story itself. While I recognize the merit/intelligence of said exposition, I guess I just really wanted a good, straight-forward fiction and not a lesson on the dichotomies of the Victorian psyche or the sly referneces to god, destiny, the power of the author. I dunno. I LIKED the story, I really did, but a lot of times, the exposition and extranneous stuff sorted of bogged me down. It's not a bad book and in fact lots of folks would tell you it's a GREAT book. I guess I just wanted to be taken away by the story and not blown away by the technique.

  • Ruthiella
    2019-01-31 17:48

    This book was both admirable and frustrating. It never seemed to end (and that is only in part because it actually has three endings). Part Victorian melodrama, part sociological study; I felt like the author was looking at the characters from under a microscope. Occasionally he takes time to lecture on the specimens all the while reminding the reader that it just fiction and deliberates if it is he or the reader who is the post-modern deity who determines the story. The story has three main characters: Charles is a quintessential Victorian aristocratic dilettante, duty dictates his every move; Ernestina is his wealthy but vapid fiancée whose dowry is tainted by that dirty word, “Trade”; and Sarah is a mentally unbalanced (or forward thinking suffragette, you choose) young woman reveling in her disgrace and the tizzy fits this causes her uptight employer, who takes her on as a charity case. I read this for the Cornflower Book Group April 2012 selection and it is an excellent pick, because this sort of book is ripe for discussion.

  • Patryx
    2019-02-13 19:01

    Il romanziere resta sempre un dio, dal momento che crea (neanche il più aleatorio dei moderni romanzi d’avanguardia è riuscito a sopprimere completamente il suo autore); ciò che è cambiato è che non siamo più gli déi dell’immagine vittoriana, onniscienti e sentenziosi; ma déi secondo una nuova immagine teologica, e il nostro principio fondamentale è la libertà, non l’autorità. Il titolo “La donna del tenente francese” ha sempre avuto su di me un forte potere evocativo legato al ricordo infantile del trailer del film ispirato al romanzo (uscito sugli schermi nel 1981). Sulla base di queste poche informazioni avevo costruito una serie di aspettative, anzi direi di “certezze”: con quel titolo la trama non poteva che raccontare di forti passioni, di un amore contrastato tra un ricco gentiluomo e una giovane donna di bassa estrazione sociale e con un passato torbido, il tutto magistralmente incorniciato in epoca vittoriana. Quando se ne è presentata l’occasione, ho iniziato a leggere questo romanzo come se si trattasse di una vecchia conoscenza, di una rilettura. E invece ero lontana anni luce dalla realtà del libro (e anche del film). Sarebbe interessante (per me solo presumo) fare una digressione su come le informazioni tratte dal contesto vengono travisate sulla base delle conoscenze già acquisiste e poi utilizzate per costruire sistemi di credenze poco coerenti con la realtà. Insomma, mi era bastato un titolo per attribuire al libro delle caratteristiche basandomi sulle mie precedenti letture di Dickens e Austen. Forse è per questo che il libro di Fowles non è molto letto? Si dà un’occhiata al titolo e si fanno delle inferenze che conducono a conclusioni quasi del tutto erronee. “La donna del tenente francese” è un libro sulla libertà individuale e sulle strade, spesso tortuose, che bisogna percorrere per potersi sentire liberi; è un viaggio dentro la mentalità vittoriana e i grandi temi che l’hanno caratterizzata: il dovere, il progresso, la religiosità. I due personaggi principali, Charles e Sarah, rappresentano l’uno l’epoca vittoriana con tutte le sue contraddizioni e ipocrisie e l’altra il superamento di quell’epoca. Charles è il tipico esponente della piccola nobiltà, è un gentiluomo e uno scienziato ma che non riesce a liberarsi dalle pastoie che gli impediscono di essere autentico.Questo – il fatto che ogni vittoriano avesse due facce – è l’attrezzo che dobbiamo portarci appresso durante i nostri viaggi nell’Ottocento. […] ed è per questo, credo, che la miglior guida dell’epoca è molto probabilmente Il dottor Jeckyll e Mister H. Dietro una tardiva impalcatura di romanzo gotico, si nasconde infatti una verità molto profonda e rivelatrice. Sarah è invece una donna “moderna” nel senso che ha un progetto chiaro e si assume la responsabilità di realizzarlo, anche se per farlo è costretta a mettersi al margine della società, che le affibbia un’etichetta infamente senza cercare di conoscere le ragioni del suo comportamento.Pochissimi vittoriani erano disposti a mettere in dubbio i meriti del mimetismo, ma era proprio questo che si leggeva negli occhi di Sarah. Il suo sguardo timido, e tuttavia diretto, conteneva un messaggio molto moderno: “Parla chiaro, Charles, parla chiaro”. E bastava a prendere in contropiede l’interlocutore. Guida d’eccezione in questo tour è John Fowles, nel senso che spesso lo stesso autore si intromette e spiega perché un certo personaggio non può che avere quei sentimenti oppure ci illustra quali potrebbero essere delle scelte alternative ma sempre abbastanza coerenti con la mentalità vittoriana. In alcune occasioni Fowles diventa uno dei personaggi (marginali) del suo libro: ha la necessità di vedere da vicino le sue creature per capire quali sono le loro intenzioni.Ho scandalosamente distrutto l’illusione? No. I miei personaggi continuano a esistere, è in una realtà che non è meno, o più reale, di quella che ho appena distrutto. L’invenzione come disse un greco circa duemilacinquecento anni fa, è intrecciata in tutte le cose. Io ritengo che questa nuova realtà (o irrealtà) sia più valida, e vorrei che voi pure condivideste la mia convinzione di non poter controllare del tutto queste creature della mia mente, come voi non controllate – […] – i figli, i colleghi, gli amici o addirittura noi stessi. Dite che questo è assurdo? Che un personaggio o è “reale” o “Immaginario”? Se tu la pensi così, “hypochite lecteur”, posso soltanto ridere. Tu non consideri del tutto reale neanche il tuo passato; lo agghindi, lo indori, lo diffami, lo censuri, lo rattoppi… in una parola lo romanzi e lo metti su uno scaffale, è il tuo libro, la tua autobiografia romanzata. Tutti noi non facciamo che sfuggire alla realtà reale. È questa una definizione fondamentale dell’homo sapiens.Se quindi pensate che questa sciagurata digressione (ma sia davvero al tredicesimo capitolo) non abbia niente a che fare con il vostro Tempo, il vostro Progresso, la vostra Società, la vostra Evoluzione tutti gli altri fantasmi della notte a lettere maiuscole che fanno risonare le loro catene dietro le quinte di questo libro… io non discuto. Ma diffido di voi. Fowles quindi si intromette a piene mani nella vita dei suoi personaggi (come è ovvio che sia) e ci svela l’inganno,ma la finzione del romanzo ne esce rafforzata: i personaggi così ben delineati nella mente dellp scrittore, sfuggono alla sua volontà e vanno verso direzioni impreviste. Fowles non sceglie per loro ma ci illustra tutte le possibili alternative, li accompagna passo passo e poi lascia al lettore la responsabilità di scegliere quale è la decisione presa dai personaggi. La sola maniera per non prendere partito in una lotta è di mostrarne due versioni. A questo punto non ho che un problema: non posso fornire le due versioni contemporaneamente, e tuttavia la seconda, tanto è forte la tirannide dell’ultimo capitolo, sembrerà, qualunque essa sia, quella “reale” e definitiva.

  • Dana Loo
    2019-02-08 15:54

    Ci si può innamorare di un romanzo?? E sinceramente: possiamo definire questo lavoro di Fowles, autore in questo caso geniale, un semplice romanzo?? Penso proprio di no!!Ma è davvero importante definirlo in qualche modo?? Saggio vittoriano acutissimo e minuzioso, romanzo storico, postmoderno, psicologico, meta romanzo e chi ne ha più ne metta. So solo che mi ha letteralmente travolto e affascinato con la sua scrittura magistrale, ricca di ironico disincanto, di digressioni e dissertazioni antropologiche, sociologiche, religiose, politiche, letterarie, scientifiche e, per contro, estremamente limpida; con la sua struttura narrativa originalissima che permette all'autore di "dislocarsi" ed essere parte attiva della storia, di dialogare con il lettore, si farlo riflettere e ragionare sul vittorianesimo e sulla crisi che attraversa Charles, che è quella di un intero periodo storico, di disorientare il lettore e persino i personaggi comparendo in un paio di situazioni, sovvertendo un finale a tre soluzioni che definirei machiavellico...L'autore è bravissimo a "umanizzare" i protagonisti e non solo quelli principali, a dare a Charles libertà di scelta, una coscienza illuminante che gli permetta di fare luce dentro il suo caos, cosa impensabile per un autore del suo tempo.Fowles parte da una trama tutto sommato sobria che avrebbe avuto uno sviluppo abbastanza prevedibile se nn fosse intervenuto in prima persona a rivoluzionare il tutto e renderlo straordinariamente unico. Naturalmente consiglio la lettura a chi ama e conosce un po' il Vittorianesimo, le sue contraddizioni che, ritengo, siano le contraddizioni di ogni periodo storico, a chi voglia approfondirlo, ma anche a chi, stufo delle solite letture voglia sperimentare qualcosa di veramente nuovo e intellettualmente stimolante...

  • Alex
    2019-01-28 18:07

    I guess I thought this book would be weirder. It's hyper-aware of itself - its narrator, coming at you from the presentish day, keeps pointing out his own Victorian cliches as he writes them, and he makes it clear that he's perfectly willing to go back and change his own story. (The book in fact ends three different times and ways.) But he doesn't actually end up unreliable. He changes his story, but doesn't subvert it. And the story itself doesn't hold water for me: Sarah Woodruff's attraction to Charles Smithson feels off. Tess of the D'Urberbilles seems to be the main touchstone here, and it feels a little like Tess as written by Alec (in the book, her (view spoiler)[rapist (hide spoiler)]) - so I nursed a theory that the whole thing would turn out to be Charles's criminal defense. But in the end, the story is the story, so instead of subversive it comes off as more of a pleasant tour.This is the second book in a row that I'm disappointed by because it is what it is, instead of what I sortof wished it was, and I hate when I do that.

  • C.
    2019-01-26 23:10

    I loved the post-modern aspects of this, which I thought were very well done. I was less enthusiastic about the story, which appeared to be told by an arrogant twat who thought he knew what women were about and who spent a lot of time criticising Victorian sensibilities while simultaneously (but more subtly) regaling us with his own, more pernicious brand of 1960's sexism. However, I haven't read enough Victorian literature to know how much of it was Victorian and how much of it was Fowles', so to an extent I am reserving judgement. Otherwise, this was compelling and well-written, so I guess it was good.

  • Lucrezia
    2019-02-04 23:02

    E di come ci si può dare all' enigmistica leggendo ....Avete presente quando magari leggendo una rivista di enigmistica appunto , oppure da piccoli quando vi davano qualcuna di quelle schede operative , vi imbattete in quei giochini o attività (se avete parole diverse definite pure come vi pare) in cui bisogna colorare gli spazzi bianchi contrassegnati da puntini e scoprire quale figura ne verrà fuori , o magari collegare una successione di numeri , per ottenere sempre lo stesso risultato ... Bene, Fowles mi ha fatto la stessa impressione, con effetto sorpresa nel finale però.Tanto che ancora non ho capito che figura ne sia venuta fuori ... O forse sì?Bando alla ciance, cerchiamo di entrare un po più nel particolare per farlo i appoggerò al gentile ausilio della quarta di copertina: "Sola , all' estremità di un molo battuto dalle tempeste, Sarah Woodruff fissa muta il mare sul quale è scomparso il tenente francese , che tutti dicono essere stato il suo amante." Congediamo gentilmente la quarta di copertina(non trovate "accennati" richiami Brontiani in tutto ciò?)Ma passiamo appunto alla protagonista, nonché colei che da il titolo al romanzo, Tragedia , Miss Woodruff, Sarah, la puttana del tenente francese...Sarah la chiamerò così , perché ormai è entrata un po anche lei a vivo diritto e di prepotenza nel circolo dei miei idoli letterari, quasi tutte donne manco a farlo apposta.Sarah, è una figura magnetica al punto che le altre figure del romanzo scompaiono o sono totalmente a lei sottoposte , è quando compare lei sulla scena tutto quello che le sta intorno le diventa improvvisamente opaco, cattura inesorabilmente l' attenzione come un raggio di sole in mezzo a scure nubi di tempesta... Eppure Sarah non è un raggio di sole è la tempesta stessa , quel ribollire del mare che poi si infrange sugli scogli , quel vento furioso che scuote tutti e tutti vorrebbe divergere , eppure è allo stesso tempo , scoglio solitario su cui il mare si schianta e fragile entità che resiste al vento furioso ...Sarah è ambigua , è non vi è altro aggettivo per definirla , è "La Fille Damnee" di Lyme , fiera di portare la propria A scarlatta ben visibile . Come avrete ormai compreso non è una donna ordinaria e lo comprende subito Charles , altro personaggio cardine del libro (scialbo se lo confrontiamo ,ma ugualmente essenziale). Charles è in qualche modo quella pianta che viene sradicata dall' uragano Sarah , e che non ritornerà mai più al suo posto , ne potrà mai più mettere radici, perché si renderà conto che il terreno in cui le aveva radicate in realtà era sterile ....E così seguiamo il filo di una storia i cui eventi sembrano trascinare tutti in un vortice sempre più forte , ma in realtà , c' è qualcuno che in qualche modo ha intuito come gestirlo. Ad un certo punto sarà Sarah a tenere in mano le redini della situazione , ma le ha forse mai lasciate?In un mondo in cui le regole e le apparenze sono capitali, c' è qualcuno che ha la faccia tosta di sfidarle apertamente, e in maniera del tutto originale , compiendo il più atroce delitto condannato dalla morale comune... In che modo finirà la faccenda ? Beh questo spetta a voi deciderlo ...P.S Meravigliosa l' idea dell' autore di inserire capitoli saggio in determinati punti della narrazione. Chiarifica ancora di più il punto di vista e la maniera di vivere dei personaggi , mettendoli a confronto con la propria epoca. In più è sempre bello imparare qualcosa di nuovo sui Vittoriani...

  • Melody
    2019-02-03 21:11

    You can simply read this book as a novel – but it will possibly frustrate you and have you wondering what the heck Sarah’s motives were and how in tarnation the book ends; because this is a novel about the craft of writing and it’s not necessarily a tale for your enjoyment. It is a Victorian novel written in the 60s. Sarah, or the “French Lieutenant’s Woman”, however, is a 20th century woman. The things she does and the decisions she makes are those of a 20th century character existing in a Victorian landscape. The narrator is also from the 20th century – and makes anachronistic observations throughout the telling. The writer even makes an appearance as a character in the end – when he offers 3 possible endings – one, the type of ending that would be expected if it were completely in Victorian times – and the other two as options depending on how “evolved” Sarah’s character became by the end of the novel. Enjoyable on your own, but much better understood and appreciated if you can discuss with others after reading.

  • Justė
    2019-02-11 00:00

    literatūrinės patyčios Mane apgavo knygos pavadinimas. „Prancūzų leitenanto moteris“ sudomino knygų mugės bukinistų pasaže ir nesu tikra net ar skaičiau anotaciją, ar tiesiog tikėdamasi tokio klasikinio uždraustos meilės romano su daug šalutinių veikėjų, besipinančių siužetinių linijų, paslapčių ir paskalų ėmiau ir nusipirkau. Ankščiau su John Fowles nebuvau susipažinusi ir nežinojau, kad tai šiuolaikinis rašytojas, todėl tokią klaidą turbūt galima atleisti. Trumpai tariant, su šia knyga turėjau staigmenų ir nors gavau ne visai tai, ką tikėjausi, skaitymas tikrai buvoentertaining. Techniškai su savo spėjimu pagal pavadinimą ne taip ir toli prašoviau, mat tai iš tikrųjų yra Viktorijos laikų literatūros, tai realiai Dikenso ir Tekerėjaus ar panašaus laikotarpio kad ir prancūzų literatūros, parodija. Labai įdomus šio romano konceptas – iš šiuolaikinės perspektyvos visažinio autoriaus pasakojama istorija su visais to žanro pagardais – tuo pompastišku pasakojimo balsu, pradedant nuo atsitiktinių epizodų ir antraeilių veikėjų tik kiek vėliau atvedant prie esmės ir sujungiant viską į vieną tinklą. Netgi tie visi keisti epizodai, kur autorius pradeda kalbėti nuo savęs yra, tik šiuo atveju jie tarnauja jau parodijos tikslams, nes autorius ten jau išsidirbinėja iš tokio pasakojimo būdo. Itin keista patirtis yra skaityti Vargdienių stiliaus pasakojimą ir protarpiais išvysti Hitlerio vardą, minimus dangoraižius, televiziją ir nuolatinį lyginimą su mūsų laikais. Šita dalimi esu labai patenkinta ir jaučiu, kad visokios literatūrinės patyčios man labai patinka – kaifavau ir su Nortangerio abatija. Bet mano požiūriu autoriui nepavyko sukurti kartu ir paveikios istorijos, kuri įsimintų, kurią būtų įdomu skaityti ir kurioje sirgtum už veikėjus. Nežinau, galbūt jis visai nenorėjo to pasiekti, ko aš tikrai neatmetu, galbūt jam tiesiog nepavyko suderinti parodijos ir tikro pasakojimo, gal čia aš kalta, kad ne ten kreipiau dėmesį, bet istorija liko kažkur fone – neįtikino manęs meilės istorija, o dievaži tokios knygos sugeba savo meilės istorijomis įtikinti. Be kita ko, pasakojimas buvo labai lėtas. Taip, taip, knygose kurios čia pašiepiamos jis visada laaabai lėtas, bet jose tas lėtumas kitoks, jis nenuobodus, šalutiniai vingiai mane daug labiau įtraukia. Tiesa, į knygos pabaigą įvykiai buvo kiek suaktyvėję ir maniau jau išsigelbės, bet galiausiai vis tiek nuėjo į melancholiją. Galbūt nereikėtų lyginti išvis, bet čia paradoksaliai gaunasi ir aš nieko negaliu padaryti. Negaliu ginčytis su autoriumi dėl visų tų pašiepiamų detalių, bet tie „ale realizmo“ autoriai vis tiek kažką turėjo ir sugebėjo į visą tą keistą formą suvynioti įdomias istorijas, o gal šitie du veiksniai yra neatsiejami ir tik kartu sugeba būti tokie paveikūs. Kažkaip paradoksaliai, bet manau kad po šio romano kažkaip šviežiau imsiu žiūrėti į to paties Dikenso kūrybą.Kažkaip keistai šitas mano aprašymas toks kanoninis gavosi – aptariau stilių, istoriją, tai beliko įlįsti kiek gilau ir aptarti mintį. Tai ši irgi manęs neįtikino. Visuomenės vaizdų buvo, bandyta užsikabinti šiek tiek ir už darvinizmo bei mokslo, bet man pritrūko vienos viską jungiančios idėjos. Be parodijos, be tų laikų ir mūsų visuomenės lyginimo, be anos visuomenės pjaustymo su šiuolaikinio žmogaus žiniomis užantyje, net be keistų metafizinių paplaukusios moteriškės mintijimų narpliojimo. Norėjau kažkokios žinutės, bet ji panašu pasimetė pakeliui su visais kitais dalykais.Žodžiu, kas kad detalės man nepatiko, esu patenkinta užkliuvusi už šios knygos ir susipažinusi su autoriumi, nes knygos idėja labai įdomi ir sveikintina.