“The French Lieutenant’s Woman” – Themes, narrative perspective, and the meaning of the main characters’ relationship

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Seminar paper from the year 2006 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies – Literature, grade: 1-, Catholic University Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, course: Hauptseminar: Novel and Film, language: English, abstract: One of John Fowles’s most famous works, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, is remarkable in many ways. The author combines an intriguing story, narrated in the typical Victorian manner, with a detailed account of Victorian England. Moreover, Fowles also manages to convey to the reader his actual conviction of how a novel should be written from the modern author’s stance, while criticizing both the “form-obsessed noveau roman school” (Huffaker 99) and the shortcomings of Victorian writing-techniques. This research paper will examine some of the book’s aspects, mainly the central theme of Darwinism, and the accurate depiction of the Victorian age while maintaining a certain critical distance. Also, the narrative perspective and the alternative endings while be discussed, and finally the development and meaning of the central relationship between the protagonists Sarah Woodruff and Charles Smithson.

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