Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Because a thesis is by definition a proposi­ tion to be argued, I feel some obigation to make strong assertion--either John Fowles is a post­ modernist writer, or John Fowles is not a postmodernist writer. What is immediately "problematic" about such an either/or proposition is that each side can be argued convincingly by a careful process of selection of examples to support the prospective cases (and omission of those which refute them). I cannot easily dismiss the wisdom of Northrop Frye's statement that, "They think of ideas as weapons; they seek the irrefutable argument, which keeps eluding them because all arguments are theses, and all theses are half-truths implying their own opposites."

The most honest, if less cold and less anxious-to-label approach is to state and demonstrate that the writing of John Fowles shows evidence of postmodernist influence and makes uses of many of the literary devices and attitudes which have been associated with postmodernism. In comparing the aesthetics of Fowles and postmodernism, I hope to answer Fowles' question, "To what extent am I being a coward by writing inside the old tradition? To what extent am I being panicked into avant-gard­ism?" To begin, it is necessary to consider the relationship between modernism and postmodernism.