Victorian Narrative In The French Lieutenant's Woman

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John Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman came to light in June 1969. It is clear that the novel tackles motifs such as love and intrigue, prototypical themes of the Victorian Novel. However, Fowles’s ultimate motive was not that of writing a conventional Victorian story but that of revealing an experimental narrative in which Victorian elements are explored from a perspective of the late sixties. Fowles presents us with a new reading of 1867, incorporating references of many of the events that took place during that gap of time. Barry Lewis states that “The postmodernist writer distrusts the wholeness and completion associated with traditional stories, and prefers to deal with other ways of structuring narrative.” (Stuart Sim (ed.) 2001: 127). In this essay, I shall attempt to show how the ‘wholeness and completion’ of the conventional Victorian novel is disrupted over the narrative of Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman by drawing a number of examples out of the numerous that can be traced in the novel. The first distinct element that the reader notices in the narrative is the use of quotation references preceding the beginning of each chapter. The use of these epigraphs reinforces the Victorian ‘feeling’ of the story, and certainly, it also aims to recreate the Victorian context in relation to the current perspective. Fowles is trying to comment on the period and on how things have shifted. Somehow readers are still reminded that the story is set in Victorian

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