London: Jonathan Cape, 1965. First Edition. Fine.
First edition, uncorrected proof. Original red wrappers with repeating Jonathan Cape emblem, and white paper description label adhered to front panel, title and reviewer's name in marker to spine and cover. Very good with light toning to edges and spine, a vertical crease lengthwise down the front cover, some very light smudging. A very solid copy in the original wrappers. The Aristos is a collection of hundreds of aphorisms penned by John Fowles. An aphorism is a concise observation of a general truth, such as "Lost time is never found again." The aphorisms are separated into eleven chapters, or "groupings," with titles like "The Obsession with Money," "The Importance of Art," and "The Polar Nature of Reality." Fowles' ideas in this book were heavily influenced by the writings of the Ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, who is best known today for his theories that all things are in constant flux and that fire is the essential material of the world. Heraclitus' sole work was partially destroyed and only fragments remain, many of which are paradoxical and contain complex wordplay. The title of Fowles' book is Greek and translates to "best or most excellent of its kind." Commenting on his book, Fowles wrote, "The Aristos is a self-description of a writer who is determined to remain independent of all parties, classes, churches, cliques and movements; who is determined not to join. The book is my own self-portrait in ideas." The Aristos was John Fowles' second book after his chilling debut The Collector, and preceded his best-selling novel The Magus by a year. This uncorrected proof was released in advance of Jonathan Cape's initial printing, making it exceptionally rare.