Self-consciousness in The French Lieutenant's Woman
Metafiction often depends on intertexuality for its self-consciousness (Currie 4). Fowles's The French Lieutenant's Woman is no exception. By writing a metafiction set in the Victorian period, the novelist is doing a re-examination of the historical period. First, by providing the stunning statistics of one brothel in sixty houses in London (the modern ration would be neared one in six thousand) (231), Fowles is criticizing the false realism as presented in literature of the period: "Where there is not a single novel, play or poem of literary distinction that ever goes beyond the sensuality of a kiss. . . th[is period's] output of pornography has never been exceeded. Thus, to reflect a true presentation of real life for the Victorian period, Fowles has never grudge to give readers the detail of his character's sexual encounter. As Currie has suggested, the reference to "real life" and "other narratives" in metafiction enables the novel to do the simultaneous job of "fiction and criticism" (5).
Currie, Mark. Introduction. Metafiction. London: Longman, 1995. 1-18.
Fowles, John. The French Lieutenant's Woman. London: Pan, 1987.