The Ebony Tower. Eliduc. The Enigma has 92 ratings and 1 review: Published by Moscow: Progress Publishers, pages, Hardcover. One of the main relationships I came across upon reading John Fowles ‘The enigma’ was that between love and death. I feel that Fowles was. Astarte’s Game: Variations in John. Fowles’s “The Enigma”1. MARIA JESUS MARTINEZ. The life-giving power of mystery floods all of reality. Mystery squares .

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The kohn and the enigma: This paper presents a proposal for a brief analysis of the thematic and formal recurrence in two works by John Fowles, The Enigma and A Maggotin order to show that the latter is, in fact, the result of an appropriation the author makes of his own discourse. Formal experimentation has been an important trend in the contemporary English novel, and, undoubtedly, John Fowles has been one of its most praised representatives.

His novels are built out of a challenge: As critics have exhaustively pointed out, teh dilemma confronting the contemporary experimental novel has been the realization that the world as such cannot be “represented”.

Fowles chose a specific way to solve the tension between his necessity of communicating a coherent message and his irresistible impulse to transform the medium into a literary artifact: Despite their stylistic differences, his novels show formal and thematic coincidences, which we are going to treat from now on as “intratextuality”.

By exercising his ability to create variations on the same themes, Fowles proves the endlessness of creative power. A Maggot and “The Enigma”. At first, Fowles had wanted to call johh collection Variationsbeing prevented from doing so by his publisher, who thought the title would be irrelevant for the series.

According to the author, the reason for the intended title was that all the short stories were variations jonh the books he had previously written. While A Maggot is a novel composed as a polymorphous text, which enigms characteristics from the historical novel, legal documents, historical registers and science fiction besides the detective fiction, “The Enigma” is framed as belonging to the detective story genre, from the pattern jonn which the short story distances itself as much as it develops its metafictional strategies.

As for the content, “The Enigma” anticipates some of the themes to be treated in A Maggot: Underlying the weaving of both works there are female jobn that are in charge of awakening in the reader the ontological doubts about the limits between reality and fiction.

At start, the novel seems to be a historical one. It is situated inand, from a rationalist point of view, it describes a real trip on horseback from London to Devon. Fragmentary scenes suggest that most of the facts that can be learned about that little group are untrue. The reader feels entrapped by the text.

Their names, their social status, their relationship to one another are all shifting masks. After a night at an inn, they ride on. Within days, one member of the group is found hanged from rowles tree, another has apparently dematerialized in a paranormal enifma, and the rest have scattered. Those reports consist of the depositions of other characters. There is also the register of the wnigma evidence that Ayscough sends to the duke in a series of letters, which, instead of providing a solution for the case, casts even deeper darkness vowles it.


Structurally, this mixture of different kinds of discourse, aims at showing that the reader is offered the “genuine” material exactly as it was obtained by the barrister from the mouths of the different witnesses.

The testimonies prove to be contradictory, containing both factual and imaginary evidence. The truth stays obstinately buried.

In the long run, at least three possibilities of solution are presented.

Teaching the Postmodern: John Fowles’ “The Enigma” () | Laurence Raw –

The second is vowles celestial one. According to this version, they are led into the cave where they found a strange maggot-like aircraft. The third one explains his disappearance as murder. However, the hypothesis of suicide cannot be totally discarded among a variety of personal interpretations of the facts.

Considering that many of the themes expanded in A Maggot had been previously presented in “The Enigma”, hte latter may be properly seen as the maggot that gave origin to the novel.

In the short story, Marcus Fielding suddenly disappears, and after some discreet investigation led by his tbe, the police are called and a sergeant is indicated to solve the case. Thr talking to her, he finds out that, on the day of the disappearance, Fielding had been seen at the British Museum, supposedly to meet Isobel.

Their personal relationship is not clear for the reader, who is led to suppose they had had a love affair. Fowlee saying that nothing in life is real, everything is fiction, Isobel presents her version for the disappearance: A detective story, yes? He or she decides who we are, what we do, all about us” 4. She justifies the encounter by saying that he wanted to anticipate the reason for his disappearance.

She is contested by Jennings, who believes something far more serious has happened to Fielding. So it must be true, anyway. In fact, she sees him as a rebel character that refuses the plot in which he is inserted. Instead of giving his story a predictable end, resulting in his death or coming back, he decides to disappear.

fowle In that case, the mystery, unsolved, will last forever. Nothing lasts like a mystery. On condition that it stays that way. You may think novelists always have fixed plans to which they work, so that the future predicted by Chapter One is always inexorably the actuality of Chapter Thirteen.

The Enigma by John Fowles

But novelists write for countless different reasons Only one same reason is shared by all of us: This is why we cannot plan.

We know a world is an organism, not a machine. We also know that a genuinely created world must be independent of its creator; a planned world a world that fully reveals its planning is a dead world.

It is only when our characters and events begin to disobey us that they begin to live. Fowles admits that his characters have a life of their own. Since they are not real individuals, they are a consequence of a filtered version of reality.


Their existence in the fictional universe is a product of language, which retains in its realization the power of life and death. He recurs to the theme of disappearance- the presence through absence – successively in “The Enigma”, “The Cloud” and A Maggot. As well as Mr. Bartholomew, fiwles A MaggotMarcus Fielding has no influence on his family, and his presence, that is, his “self”, is only noticeable after his disappearance.

From that point on, his family and friends start thinking about what enigam had once thought and wished. It is the main female character that leads the narrative as far as she writes her “fiction”.

There is something ludicrous in her way of telling her story. All of rnigma are in charge of producing some kind of story within the story, an instance of myse en abyme. All of them are involved in a circumstance of disappearance. All of them are part of a fiction in which there is no predictable end. Both, A Maggot and “The Enigma” fowels from the frame of the enifma story, in the sense that they do not offer any solution to the case.

As Tania Shepherd has pointed out in her analysis of “The Enigma”, the pattern of detective stories usually provides a resolution.

Whatever the stance adopted, the hermeneutic code, in the Barthesian In other words, the delays, the obstacles, the deviations and the red-herrings between the setting up of the enigma and its resolution, motivate the reader to go on reading, but must, of necessity, bring the reader to a revelation, which is, significantly, not the case of the story under discussion. As the short story was written before the novel, and contains many of the themes developed in the latter, it may be considered as “the fictional maggot” not only of the novel under discussion but also of other later works.

The Enigma – John Fowles

It is quite clear the use Fowles makes of intertextual references and the frequency with which he re-takes his own themes and narrative strategies and experimentation. His creative practice is usually highlighted by his personal belief in freedom of all sorts. ebigma

As readers, we are invited to make up the end of the story; we are free to figure it out; we are invited to co-authorize it. By including an epigraph to the story, which is in fact a riddle fheFowles challenges our capacity to deal with unexpected endings, to fill gaps and control our increasing anxiety to make things conform to the rules. Who is neigma to wait until the obscure things become clear?