No Relation No.15: John Knowles and John Fowles.

Answers to your questions about the news.
Nov. 30 2001 4:49 PM

No Relation No.15: John Knowles and John Fowles

John Knowles and John Fowles wrote best-selling novels in the 1950s and 1960s. One authored a much-loved classic of the junior high-school canon; the other penned more quirky and literary works, several of which nonetheless reached a large popular audience. Which is which?

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John Knowles, who died Nov. 29, wrote the junior-high classic A Separate Peace, published in 1959. It tells the story of fraught male adolescent relationships at a thinly disguised Exeter. Knowles, a former editor at Holiday, wrote eight other novels, none of which received much attention. Knowles was American.

John Fowles, now 75, is best known for The French Lieutenant's Woman, published in 1969. He also wrote The Collector, The Magus, and Daniel Martin, among other works. He is English.

Knowles and Fowles are not related to one another, and neither is related to Paul Bowles, the American expatriate novelist and composer who lived in Morocco and died in 1999.

Previously in the "No Relation" series, Explainer tackled  Josh Bolten and John Bolton; Robert Kagan, Lawrence F. Kaplan, and Robert D. Kaplan; Lawrence Kudlow, Robert Kuttner, Paul Krugman, and Robert Krulwich; Linda Chavez and Linda Chavez-Thompson; Marty Peretz and the Meretz Party; the McCulloughs and Macaulays;the Gessens, Glennys, and Kaczynskis; the Cohens (three Stephens, four Richards); the Rays(two Elizabeths); the Hirschfelds(Abe and Al); the Strausses (Robert and R. Peter); the Broders  (Jonathan, John M., and David); the Moores (three Michaels); and the Samuelsons (Paul, Robert, and Larry). Explainer has also handled in "Yes Related" the Pipes, the Negropontes, and the Eskews. 

Have you noticed people in the news with confusingly similar names? Send your suggestions to Explainer.

Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His  book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.