FOWLES, John. The Collector. London: Jonathan Cape, 1963.
8vo., original burnt-orange cloth, lettered in gilt to spine; with pictorial dust wrapper designed by Tom Adams; pp. 282, [ii]; wrapper just a little nicked at head of spine with small abrasion to upper panel and stain to outer edge, otherwise a very good copy.
First edition of the author's first book, with the author's tipped-in signature.
Fowles began writing novels in 1952, while teaching English in Spetses, Greece. It was here that he met Elizabeth, at first his friend and staunch critic, and later his wife, who was to become the basis for almost all of the heroines in his books. The Collector was his debut novel, and was not published until 1962, 10 years after he first picked up a pen. It was written in less than a month, and appeared in the Spring of 1963.
A story of obsession, the narrative is cleverly told from the perspective of both the kidnapper and the victim. It was an immediate best-seller, allowing Fowles to give up his day job as a teacher and concentrate solely on writing. When the paperback rights were sold, Michael S. Howard, Fowles’ publisher at Jonathan Cape, claimed that it was “probably the highest price that had hithero been paid for a first novel”.