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The Magus John Fowles

Foreword by the Author
Introduction by Christopher Priest
Afterword by Eileen Warburton
Illustrations by Marc Burckhardt

Widely considered John Fowles’s masterpiece, The Magus is a masterwork of contemporary literature. By turns disturbing, thrilling and seductive, the novel is a spellbinding exploration of the complexities of the human mind.

When a young Englishman, Nicholas Urfe, accepts a teaching post on a remote Greek island and strikes up a friendship with a reclusive millionaire, he soon finds himself a pawn in the trickster’s deadly game of violence, seduction and betrayal. As Nicholas is drawn deeper into the psychological traps, he finds it increasingly difficult to distinguish past from present, or fantasy from reality. A work rich in symbols, conundrums, and labyrinthine twists, The Magus endures as the most enigmatic and magical novel in the Fowles canon.

The Magus was the first book John Fowles wrote, although it was his third to be published, following The Collector (1963) and The Artistos (1964). He began writing it in the 1950s under the working title The Godgame, and based the story partly on his own experiences on the Greek island of Spetses, where he taught English for two years at the Anargyrios School. Fowles worked on The Magus for twelve years before its publication in 1965. Despite gaining enormous critical and commercial success, he continued to rework it, publishing a final revision in 1977.

Today, the novel is considered a modern classic, included in Modern Library’s list of 100 Best 20th Century Novels, and the BBC’s The Big Read survey of the top 200 best loved novels.

About The Editions

The limited edition of The Magus by John Fowles is presented in three states: Artist, Numbered and Lettered. The editions measure 6” x 9” and feature six full color illustrations by Marc Burckhardt as well as a new introduction by Christopher Priest, and a new afterword by Eileen Warburton. The editions also include the author’s foreword from the 1977 revised edition, a bonus essay written by the author in 1994, and a transcript from the author’s October 23, 1977 appearance on the BBC television show, The Lively Arts.

The Numbered and Lettered editions are signed by Christopher Priest, Eileen Warburton and Marc Burckhardt, and the Artist edition is signed by Marc Burckhardt. The text is set in Monotype Digital Fournier and is printed offset with an additional color on the title page.

All of the illustrations by Marc Burckhardt have been accepted by the jury of the New York Society of Illustrators Annual Exhibition, and will be exhibited in the American Museum of Illustration in Manhattan in February, 2023.

The Artist edition is limited to 750 copies, and is the only edition to include a dust jacket illustrated by Marc Burckhardt. The jacket is double-sided, featuring the first edition dust jacket illustration by Tom Adams on the reverse.

It is a smyth-sewn, quarter cloth binding with European bookcloth covering the spine, and Cot-Linen cloth over the boards. This design was inspired by the first U.K. edition binding of the novel. The edition is housed in a slipcase covered in Cot-Linen and is printed offset on archival Cougar Natural. This edition is signed by Marc Burckhardt.

The Numbered edition of 250 copies is a quarter leather binding with cloth over the boards. The cover is stamped in gold foil and features an art print inset into the front cover. Endsheets are custom designed for this edition and are printed letterpress on Hahnemühle Bugra Archive.

The edition includes a color fold-out featuring the Artist edition dust jacket illustration, as well as a reproduction of the first edition jacket art by Tom Adams. It is printed offset on Mohawk Via Vellum paper and is housed in a cloth covered clamshell enclosure with a leather spine label. This edition is signed by Christopher Priest, Eileen Warburton and Marc Burckhardt.

The Lettered edition is limited to 26 copies lettered A-Z and is a smythe-sewn, full goatskin binding with a three-piece cover construction which is foil stamped in five colors with the alchemical symbols for the four elements of fire, air, water, and earth. Endbands are leather wrapped and the endsheets are hand marbled for this edition by Jemma Lewis.The clamshell enclosure is lined in ultrasuede and features a leather label and covering in European cloth.

The edition includes a color fold-out featuring the Artist edition dust jacket illustration, as well as a reproduction of the first edition jacket art by Tom Adams.

The edition is printed offset on Mohawk Via Vellum paper and is handbound by Amy Borezo at Shelter Bookworks in Orange, Massachusetts. It is signed by Christopher Priest, Eileen Warburton and Marc Burckhardt.

Olive Ash Burl Engraving

We have created this wooden “Le Bateleur” tarot card with the design laser engraved in olive ash burl wood veneer. This companion piece to our edition of The Magus is included with all orders for the Numbered and/or Lettered edition. The card measures 2½” x 4¾”.

About the Author

Photo by Carolyn Djanogly

John Fowles

John Fowles (1926–2005) was educated at Oxford and subsequently lectured in English at universities in Greece and the UK. The success of his first novel, The Collector, published in 1963, allowed him to devote all his time to writing. His books include the internationally acclaimed and bestselling novels The Magus, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, and Daniel Martin. Fowles spent the last decades of his life on the southern coast of England in the small harbor town of Lyme Regis.

About the Collaborators

Christopher Priest

Christopher Priest is a novelist and science-fiction writer. His works include The Inverted WorldThe AffirmationThe Glamour and The Prestige. He is a four-time winner of the British Science Fiction Association award for Best Novel. Strongly influenced by author H.G. Wells, he was appointed Vice President of the international H.G. Wells Society in 2006. He has a longtime affinity for The Magus, and a deep understanding of the material.

Eileen Warburton

Eileen Warburton, writer and teacher, is the author of the biography John Fowles: A Life in Two Worlds (Viking Penguin, 2004). John and Elizabeth Fowles were friends to Dr. Warburton and her family for more than 30 years. John Fowles cooperated with the biography, giving her access to his family, friends and associates, as well as all papers, public and private.

Marc Burckhardt

Marc Burckhardt’s paintings have been commissioned by Gucci, Porsche, TIMERolling Stone, and the New York Times, among others, and have been exhibited in galleries throughout the world. His work has won numerous awards, including Gold & Silver Medals from the New York Society of Illustrators and Cannes Lion, and he is a recipient of the prestigious Hamilton King Award. He divides his time between studios in Austin, Texas, and Bremen, Germany.

Matching Numbers & Letters

A Matching Pre-Order email is sent to owners of numbers 1-250 of our previous publication, Hannibal Rising at 9:00 A.M. PT on the day of announcement. If you did not receive the email, contact us here. If your order is not received before the deadline, your designated number or letter will be assigned to the new owner.

Order Limits

Please be aware of the order limits for our editions. You can read more about this in the Order Limits article on our support site.

Illustrations by Marc Burckhardt

Published editions may differ slightly from mockups and prototype designs.
Illustrations © 2021 by Marc Burckhardt. First edition jacket art © Tom Adams

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