Ali Salami

Female Liberation in John Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman

Unveiling the Literary Legacy of John Fowles: A Journey into the Mind of a Master Storyteller



John Fowles, a prominent English author, captivated readers worldwide with his innovative narratives and thought-provoking themes. Known for his distinct writing style, Fowles seamlessly merged genres, delving into the realms of psychological fiction, metafiction, and existentialism. In this article, we explore the life, works, and lasting impact of John Fowles, shedding light on his literary genius and his contributions to the world of literature.

  1. The Life and Background of John Fowles:
    • Early life and influences: Discover how Fowles’ upbringing in the English countryside and his academic pursuits shaped his literary journey.
    • Career as a teacher: Explore Fowles’ career as a teacher and how it influenced his writing, as well as his eventual decision to commit to writing full-time.
  2. Major Works by John Fowles:
    • “The Collector”: Dive into Fowles’ debut novel, a chilling psychological thriller that explores themes of obsession and control.
    • “The Magus”: Uncover the complexities of this enigmatic novel that blurs the boundaries between reality and illusion, leaving readers questioning their own perception.
    • “The French Lieutenant’s Woman”: Analyze Fowles’ most renowned work, a historical romance that challenges conventional storytelling techniques with its multiple endings and metafictional elements.
  3. Themes and Philosophical Underpinnings in Fowles’ Works:
    • Existentialism and free will: Examine Fowles’ philosophical exploration of human existence and the choices individuals make in their lives.
    • Feminism and gender dynamics: Explore how Fowles addressed gender roles and challenged societal norms through his female characters.
    • Nature and the environment: Understand Fowles’ deep connection to nature and his environmental concerns, which often found expression in his writing.
  4. Fowles’ Impact on Literature and Contemporary Writers:
    • Literary influence and critical reception: Delve into Fowles’ influence on subsequent generations of writers and the critical reception of his works.
    • Contemporary authors inspired by Fowles: Discover how Fowles’ innovative storytelling and narrative techniques continue to inspire and influence today’s writers.
  5. The Legacy of John Fowles:
    • Fowles’ contribution to postmodern literature: Discuss how Fowles pushed the boundaries of traditional storytelling, paving the way for a new era of literature.
    • Fowles’ enduring relevance: Explore why Fowles’ works continue to resonate with readers, and how they offer timeless insights into the human condition.


John Fowles, a literary visionary ahead of his time, left an indelible mark on the world of literature. Through his unique blend of genres, deep philosophical exploration, and unforgettable characters, Fowles challenged readers to question their perceptions of reality and ponder the complexities of the human experience. As we celebrate his legacy, let us continue to immerse ourselves in the profound and captivating narratives crafted by this master storyteller.


About the Present article

Female Liberation in John Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman

By Ali Salami & Hasti Soltani



This research aims to analyze John Fowles’ novel, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, in order to explore how the female protagonists challenge the concept of eunuchs and experience liberation and revolution within the social context. The study focuses on an analysis of the female characters in the novel, which revolves around themes of love and sexuality. While previous analyses have examined The French Lieutenant’s Woman through various feminist lenses, this research seeks to demonstrate how Victorian women are capable of subverting phallocentric discourse by rejecting sexual differences and assuming the position of eunuch subjects. The novel begins with Charles’ engagement to Ernestina, which is primarily based on Victorian societal expectations rather than genuine love.

Ernestina embodies the ideal of a woman who aspires to be a female eunuch and conform to the principles of the nuclear family. Conversely, Sarah represents a rebellious character who prioritizes love over the social norms of Victorian society. This study draws on the theories of Luce Irigaray and Germaine Greer to examine the role of Victorian women.

Keywords: Female Liberation, Sexual Difference, Eunuch, Phallocentrism, Victorian Era, Male Discourse.

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