|Sir William Golding|
Golding in 1983
|Born||William Gerald Golding|
19 September 1911
Newquay, Cornwall, England,UK
|Died||19 June 1993 (aged 81)|
Perranarworthal, Cornwall,England, UK
|Occupation||Writer of novels, plays andpoems|
|Genres||Survivalist fiction, robinsonade,adventure, sea story, sciencefiction, essay, historical fiction,stageplay, poetry|
|Notablework(s)||Lord of the Flies|
Nobel Prize in Literature
Sir William Gerald Golding CBE (19 September 1911 – 19 June 1993) was an English novelist, poet, playwrightand Nobel Prize in Literature laureate, best known for his novel Lord of the Flies. He was also awarded theBooker Prize for literature in 1980 for his novel Rites of Passage, the first book of the trilogy To the Ends of the Earth.
Golding was awarded both CBE and later elevated to a Knight Bachelor. In 2008, The Times ranked Goldingthird on their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".
William Golding was born in his grandmother's house, 47 Mountwise, Newquay, Cornwall and he spentmany childhood holidays there. He grew up at his family home in Marlborough, Wiltshire, where his father (AlecGolding) was a science master at Marlborough Grammar School (1905 to retirement). Alec Golding was asocialist with a strong commitment to scientific rationalism, and the young Golding and his elder brother Josephattended the school where his father taught. His mother, Mildred (Curnroe),kept house at 29, The Green,Marlborough, and supported the moderate campaigners for female suffrage. In 1930 Golding went to Oxford University as an undergraduate at Brasenose College, where he read Natural Sciences for two years before transferring to English Literature.
Golding took his B.A. degree with Second Class Honours in the summer of 1934, and later that year his first book,Poems, was published in London by Macmillan & Co, through the help of his Oxford friend, the anthroposophistAdam Bittleston.
Marriage and family
Golding married Ann Brookfield, an analytic chemist,(p161) on 30 September 1939 and they had two children,Judith and David.
William Golding joined the Royal Navy in 1940. During World War II, Golding fought in the Royal Navy (onboard a destroyer) briefly involved in the pursuit and sinking of the German battleship Bismarck. He alsoparticipated in the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, commanding a landing ship that fired salvoes of rockets ontothe beaches, and then in a naval action at Walcheren in which 23 out of 24 assault craft were sunk. At thewar's end, he returned to teaching and writing.
Soon after Golding's third novel, The Spire (1964), had been published, critical opinion was divided, and theauthor hoped for a positive boost from the BBC. But the programme turned sour with a vehement review. Inretrospect, it marked the beginning of more than a decade in which Golding underwent a profound personal andartistic crisis, drove his wife and children to the brink of despair, and began the obsessive compilation of anextraordinary dream diary that charted his pain. Over more than 20 years, the diary's volumes would run tothousands of pages and some two million words. The grim and protracted aftermath of The Spire's troubledpublication was all the more poignant because, as a batch of recently discovered colour photographsdemonstrates, the 1950s had seen Golding enjoying some of his happiest, most carefree years.
In 1985, Golding and his wife moved to Tullimaar House at Perranarworthal, near Truro, Cornwall, where he died of heart failure, eight years later, on 19 June1993. He was buried in the village churchyard at Bowerchalke, South Wiltshire (near the Hampshire and Dorset county boundaries). He left the draft ofa novel, The Double Tongue, set in ancient Delphi, which was published posthumously. He is survived by his daughter, the author Judy Golding, and his sonDavid, who still lives at Tullimaar House.
In September 1953, Golding sent a manuscript to Faber & Faber of London. Initially rejected by a reader there, the book was championed by Charles Monteith,then a new editor at the firm. He asked for various cuts in the text and the novel was published in September 1954 as Lord of the Flies. It was shortly followed byother novels, including The Inheritors, Pincher Martin and Free Fall.
Publishing success made it possible for Golding to resign his teaching post at Bishop Wordsworth's School in 1961, and he spent that academic year in theUnited States as writer-in-residence at Hollins College, near Roanoke, Virginia. Having moved in 1958 from Salisbury to nearby Bowerchalke, he met his fellowvillager and walking companion James Lovelock. The two discussed Lovelock's hypothesis that the living matter of the planet Earth functions like a singleorganism, and Golding suggested naming this hypothesis after Gaia, the goddess of the earth in Greek mythology.
In 1970, Golding was a candidate for the Chancellorship of the University of Kent at Canterbury, but lost to the politician and leader of the Liberal Party Jo Grimond. Golding won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1979, and the Booker Prize in 1980. In 1983 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, achoice which was, according to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, "an unexpected and even contentious choice, with most English critics and academicsfavouring Graham Greene or Anthony Burgess". In 1988 Golding was appointed as a Knight Bachelor.
The ONDB asserts that "At the end of the twentieth century, Golding's reputation was at its highest in continental Europe, particularly in Belgium, Holland, Germany,and France".
Golding's often allegorical fiction makes broad use of allusions to classical literature, mythology, and Christian symbolism. No distinct thread unites his novels(unless it be a fundamental pessimism about humanity), and the subject matter and technique vary. However his novels are often set in closed communities suchas islands, villages, monasteries, groups of hunter-gatherers, ships at sea or a pharaoh's court. His first novel, Lord of the Flies (1954; film, 1963 and 1990; play,adapted by Nigel Williams, 1995), dealt with an unsuccessful struggle against barbarism and war, thus showing the moral ambiguity and fragility of civilization. Ithas also been said that it is an allegory of World War II. The Inheritors (1955) looked back into prehistory, advancing the thesis that humankind's evolutionaryancestors, "the new people" (generally identified with Homo sapiens sapiens), triumphed over a gentler race (generally identified with Neanderthals) as much byviolence and deceit as by natural superiority. The Spire (1964) follows the building (and near collapse) of a huge spire onto a medieval cathedral church(generally assumed to be Salisbury Cathedral); the church and the spire itself act as a potent symbols both of the dean's highest spiritual aspirations and of hisworldly vanities. His 1956 novel Pincher Martin concerns the last moments of a sailor thrown into the north Atlantic after his ship is attacked. The structure isechoed by that of the later Booker Prize winner by Yann Martel, Life of Pi. The 1967 novel The Pyramid comprises three separate stories linked by a commonsetting (a small English town in the 1920s) and narrator. The Scorpion God (1971) is a volume of three novellas set in a prehistoric African hunter-gatherer band('Clonk, Clonk'), an ancient Egyptian court ('The Scorpion God') and the court of a Roman emperor ('Envoy Extraordinary'). The last of these is a reworking of his1958 play The Brass Butterfly.
Golding's later novels include Darkness Visible (1979), The Paper Men (1984), and the comic-historical sea trilogy To the Ends of the Earth, comprising theBooker Prize-winning Rites of Passage (1980), Close Quarters (1987), and Fire Down Below (1989).
List of works
- Poems (1934)
- The Brass Butterfly (1958)
- Lord of the Flies (1954)
- The Inheritors (1955)
- Pincher Martin (1956)
- Free Fall (1959)
- The Spire (1964)
- The Pyramid (1967)
- The Scorpion God (1971)
- Darkness Visible (1979)
- The Paper Men (1984)
- To the Ends of the Earth (trilogy)
- The Double Tongue (posthumous) (1995)
- The Hot Gates (1965)
- A Moving Target (1982)
- An Egyptian Journal (1985)
- Seahorse was written in 1948. It is a biographical account of sailing on the south coast of England whilst in training for D-Day.
- Circle Under the Sea is an adventure novel about a writer who sails to discover archaeological treasures off the coast of the Scilly Isles.
- Short Measure is a novel set in a British boarding school.