Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


Fosters. Secluded cottage in southern England’s East Sussex region built in 1621. After winning a fortune in a football pool, Clegg buys the house because of its isolation and particularly because it has a large cellar complex. Its location, two miles from the nearest village and three quarters of a mile from the nearest neighbor, provides a perfect locale for Clegg to follow his dream, to “collect” Miranda as he has collected butterflies. After he kidnaps Miranda, he confines her in his cellar. During her two months of imprisonment, Clegg lives upstairs while Miranda lives underground in her whitewashed cellar room with no fresh air. Her claustrophobic cellar existence symbolizes Clegg’s darker nature and the unconscious desires that he cannot integrate into his personality.

The cottage’s cellars are described realistically, the outer room equipped as a kitchen and the inner cellar as a bed-sitting room. Miranda refers to her stone-and-concrete chamber as the “crypt” and longs for sunlight and fresh air and freedom, which lie outside her locked door. The cottage is surrounded by fields of alfalfa (lucerne), gardens, hedges, and woods. Clegg himself is impervious to the natural beauties of his home but Miranda’s artistic nature leads her to admire the main house’s upstairs rooms, with “crossbeams and nooks and delicious angles,” which she gets to visit only occasionally. Miranda struggles against her...

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(Critical Guide to British Fiction)

Conradi, Peter. John Fowles, 1982.

Huffaker, Robert. John Fowles, 1980.

Laughlin, Rosemary M. “Faces of Power in the Novels of John Fowles.” Critique: Studies in Modern Fiction 13, no. 3 (1972): 71-88. Focuses on issues of power in Fowles’s fiction, particularly how power operates to violate, annihilate, or perhaps help another person achieve a more complete humanity. Asserts that Fowles’s depiction of power in The Collector is simplistic in light of his later novels.

Madachy, James L. The Aesthetic Theory of John Fowles, 1975.

Olshen, Barry N. John Fowles. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1978. Discusses the narrative structure of The Collector and focuses on issues of social class and opportunity. Maintains, however, that the most significant distinction is between life-and freedom-loving individuals and those who can only attempt to possess and destroy.

Rackham, Jeff. “John Fowles: The Existential Labyrinth.” Critique: Studies in Modern Fiction 13, no. 3 (1972): 89-103. Asserts that class conflict is of minor significance in The Collector, and that the novel is a metaphorical exploration of existentialism. The novel is a “minor allegory of existence,” in which people who believe that they have an insight into life are in reality at the mercy of their own smugness.

Wolfe, Peter. John Fowles, Magus and Moralist. Cranbury, N.J.: Bucknell University Press, 1976. Excellent introduction to Fowles’s philosophical and aesthetic ideas. Discusses The Collector specifically in light of his attitudes about “collecting,” the dichotomy between The Many and The Few, and the social and cultural milieu that produces a Frederick Clegg.

Woodcock, Bruce. Male Mythologies: John Fowles and Masculinity. Brighton, England: The Harvester Press, 1984. Suggests that Clegg is “the prototype of masculinity,” both perpetrator and victim of male power, and also the representative for the novelist himself, who can collect his characters and subject them to his own male fantasies.