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Pale grey is colour of job-ad despair

John Fowles, who died earlier this week, is best known as the author of The French Lieutenant's Woman. But many consider The Magus, his first novel although not actually published until 1966, more intriguing.

It also contains a role for The TES - alas, not a starring one. Stuck for a job, the hero ("like countless Oxford men before me") answers an advertisement in The TES and starts teaching at a minor public school.

Miserable, he leaves after a year, only to find September looming again. "I began to feel desperate, I saw myself cornered, driven back in despair to the dreaded Educational Supplement and those endless pale-grey lists of endless pale-grey jobs." This was, of course, long before the Scottish Executive's offerings started livening up our pages.

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