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Two years after "The Collector" had brought him international recognition and a year before he published "The Magus", John Fowles set out his ideas on life in The Aristos. The chief inspiration behind them was the fifth century BC philosopher Heraclitus. In the world he posited of constant and chaotic flux the supreme good was the Aristos, 'of a person or thing, the best or most excellent its kind'. 'What I was really trying to define was an ideal of human freedom (the Aristos) in an unfree world,' wrote Fowles in 1965. He called a materialistic and over-conforming culture to reckoning with his views on a myriad of subjects - pleasure and pain, beauty and ugliness, Christianity, humanism, existentialism, and socialism.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099755319
ISBN-10: 0099755319
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 12mm)
Pages: 208
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 6-Sep-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » A philosophical sketchbook, whose are of darkness and light swings somewhere between the silly and the sublime, between the poseur primping before his intellectual mirror and the truly troubled spirit trying to look within. It suggests Heraclitus: sentence fragments, speculative meanderings. Thus the classical artillery; the use of opposites ("polar nature of reality"), the metaphor of change ("Humanity on its raft. The raft on the endless ocean"); above all, the relation between the One (the aristos: isolated, independent seeker of inner wisdom and knowledge) and the Many (the unthinking, unfeeling Mass). Other points include Our Most Fashionable Problems: technology, oxistentialism, materialism, dehumanized art and sex, God and the Abyss. Clearly a Major Undertaking. With "labels": angora society (bad; today's acquisitive one), stoa society (good; sort of Shaw's Major Barbara utopianism), the Midas Situation, etc. Novelist Fowles, (author of the celebrated The Collector,) writes elegantly enough and has a fairly firm formal mind. His bent is towards the rational as against modernist irrationalism, but his raft, full of received ideas and hardly any primary experience, follows a confused course: he's a "planner" and existential, hieratic and humanistic. Here he is polemicising against what one takes to be the New Critics: what's taken as a criterion is not the meaning, but a skill in hinting at meanings". He concludes, "Any good computer will beat man at this." A crack which sums up his own voluminous tag-bag, biggest since The Outsider. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - John Fowles

John Fowles was born in England in 1926 and educated at Bedford School and Oxford University. John Fowles won international recognition with his first published title. THE COLLECTOR (1963). He was immediately acclaimed as an outstandingly innovative writer of exceptional imaginative power and this reputation was confirmed with the appearance of his subsequent works. He now lives and writes in Lyme Regis, Dorset.

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