classics of high modernism. From the start, postmodernism spurred skepticism (had not James Joyce,Franz Kafka, and the various avant-gardes already performed all the tricks now called postmodern?) andantagonistic evaluation. The Old Left (Howe) and the critical establishment (Levin) deplored the newwriters' lack of high seriousness; their apparent contempt for the well-made, unified literary work; andtheir addiction to popular culture.Literary critics such as Irving Howe and Harry Levin stated in 1959 that in comparison to the great"modern" literature (William Butler Yeats, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, James Joyce), contemporary literature,which for the sake of contrast they designated "postmodern", was characterized by a lack of innovationand power.Critics such as Leslie Fiedler and Susan Sontag gave up the orientation by the high, elitist standardsof modern literature in order to describe particularly the combination of elite and mass culture as thespecific qualities of the new literature by authors such as John Barth, Leonard Cohen, and Norman Mailer.A milestone in this development was Fiedler's essay in 1969, "Cross the Border, Close the Gap", which,significantly, did not appear in a literary magazine, but in
.Making sense of John Fowles¶ life and literary work is no easy task. Best known for novels such as
he French Lieutenant¶s Woman,
he has also published poems, short stories, screenplays,translations and diaries - though no new fiction since
in 1985.Born in Essex in 1926, Fowles graduated from Oxford and became a reluctant schoolmaster - first inGreece, then at a girls¶ grammar school in London. He had already written novels before publication of hisfirst,
, in 1963.English novelist and essayist, master of layered story-telling, illusionism, and purposefullyambiguous endings. Among Fowles's best-known novels are THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN(1969), adapted into screen in 1981, and THE MAGUS (1965), which have gained a cult status. His protagonists must often confront their past, self-delusions and illusions, in order to gain their personalfreedom or peace of mind. 'I must know the real truth, the truth beyond magic.' 'There is no truth beyondmagic,' said the king. "(from The Magus, 1965)John Fowles was born in Leigh-on-Sea, in the south-east of England, as the son of Robert Fowles, a prosperous cigar merchant, and Gladys Richards Fowles. "The rows of respectable little houses inhabited by respectable little people had an early depressive effect on me," he later wrote. Fowles was educated atAlleyn Court School and Bedford School. He has regretted that as a captain of prefects at Bedford Schoolhe allowed himself to exercise tyranny over the younger boys. "Being head boy was a weird experience,"Fowles has told. "I suppose I used to beat on average three or four boys a day.... Very evil, I think.