Mantissa (novel)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
First UK edition
Author John Fowles
Cover artist Pablo Picasso
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Publisher Jonathan Cape (UK)
Little, Brown (US)
Publication date
Aug 1982
Media type Print
Pages 192
ISBN 0-224-02938-X

Mantissa is a novel by British author John Fowles published in 1982. It consists entirely of a presumably imaginary dialogue in a writer's head, between himself and an embodiment of the Muse Erato, after he wakes amnesiac in a hospital bed.

Critical reception[edit]

Mantissa was Fowles' only novel to receive generally negative reviews. The New York Times called it "a surprisingly tedious novel," asserting that it was little more than Fowles' response to critics that he felt misunderstood his work.[1] The Boston Globe named it "an idiotic story."[2] Time magazine, in a more positive review, asserted that the book consists of a sort of intellectual play between Fowles and the reader, or by Fowles at the expense of all reading.[3] The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette likewise identified the book as intellectually playful but found the dialogue tiresome.[4]


The novel was completed in autumn 1981.[5]


  1. ^ Leonard, John (1982-08-31). "Books of the Times: Mantissa". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-05-31. 
  2. ^ Manning, Margaret (1982-09-05). "Fowles: A Migration And An Entertainment; Mantissa". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2011-05-31. 
  3. ^ Gray, Paul (1982-09-06). "Books: The Prisoners of Gender". Time. Retrieved 2011-05-31. 
  4. ^ Paris, Barry (1982-09-07). "John Fowles muses about fiction". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2011-05-31. 
  5. ^ Fowles, John The Journals Volume 2, London: Jonathan Cape, 2006