In 1974, at almost the mid-point of his literary career, John Fowles published The Ebony Tower, a volume consisting of four stories, his own translation of a twelfth-century tale by Marie de France, and a brief, discursive essay entitled ‘A Personal Note’. In this last, he reveals that his working title for the volume was Variations, meaning variations on ‘certain themes’ and ‘methods of narrative presentation’ employed in his earlier fiction.1 When his publishers objected to Variations on the grounds that they were unable to see its relevance to the collection, Fowles chose to give it the same title as its first story, ‘The Ebony Tower’. This enigmatic title provides a key to understanding not only The Ebony Tower but an important aspect of Fowles’s protocol for late twentieth-century art.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- The Ebony Tower and the Search for Meaning
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number