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William Golding was born in Cornwall in 1911 and was educated at Marlborough Grammar School and at Brasenose College, Oxford. Apart from writing, his past and present occupations include being a schoolmaster, a lecturer, an actor, a sailor, and a musician. His father was a schoolmaster and his mother was a suffragette. He was brought up to be a scientist, but revolted. After two years at Oxford he read English literature instead. He spent five years at Oxford and then published a volume of poems in 1935. He was present off the French coast for the D-Day invasion, and later at the island of Walcheren. After the war he returned to teaching, and began to write again. Lord of the Flies, his first novel, was published in 1954. It was filmed by Peter Brook in 1963. In 1980 he won the 'Booker Prize' for his novel Rites of Passage. He retired from teaching in 1962. After that, he lived in Wiltshire, listing his recreations as music, sailing, archaeology and classical Greek. William Golding died in 1993.
William Golding’s iconic and enduring novel is interesting in many ways. Firstly it was a debut book and secondly it was rejected by numerous publishers and editors before it was picked up off the ‘slush-pile’ by a young editor at Faber and Faber. More than 50 years later the schoolboys to savages story is still relevant, disturbing and shocking.
This was Golding’s second published novel and hailed by critics as his best, so startling was it that one, Arthur Koestler, described it as ‘an earthquake in the petrified forests of the English Novel’.55 years on the novel charting the downfall of the Neanderthals, from their perspective, by the violent race of Homo Sapiens is still shocking.
Golding's best-known novel is the story of a group of boys who, after a plane crash, set up a fragile community on a previously uninhabited island. As memories of home recede and the blood from frenzied pig-hunts arouses them, the boys' childish fear turns into something deeper and more primitive.