Golding, William, 1911-1993

Alternative names
Birth 1911-09-19
Death 1993-06-19

Biographical notes:

Author William Golding was born in Cornwall, and educated at Oxford, where he dedicated himself to literature. He worked in theater, as a schoolteacher, and served in World War II. His first novel, Lord of the Flies, brought him popular and critical acclaim, and he has remained one of England's most widely known and influential authors. His allegorical novels explore the conflict between man's civilized and primitive tendencies, and have been widely interpreted. He also wrote plays, short stories, essays, poetry, and travel books; his work has been awarded the Booker Prize and the Nobel Prize for literature.

From the description of William Golding letters, radio script, and galley proofs, 1960-1973. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 62589891

Sir William Gerald Golding (1911-1993), novelist, was born in Newquay, Cornwall at his grandmother's house. He was educated at Marlborough Grammar School, where his father taught and Brasenose College, Oxford, reading natural science before transferring to English Literature. In 1934 he published a small volume, 'Poems', in Macmillan's Contemporary Poets Series.

He moved to London in 1935, working as a writer, actor and producer for a small, non-commercial theatre before taking up teaching in 1939 when he married and had a family. At this time he was also involved in adult education, teaching in army camps and Maidstone gaol.

During the World War II he served in the Royal Navy, firstly working in a weapons research unit where he was injured, then trained to bring mine-sweepers from New York. He later commanded a landing craft equipped with rocket guns, taking part in the D-day landings and the invasion of Walcheren.

He returned to writing and teaching after the war. 'Lord of the flies', his first and best known novel, was not published until 1954 by Faber and Faber, after being rejected by 21 publishers and changes to the text. It was an immediate success,

Golding wrote 12 novels, many essays and reviews, poems, short stories and a travel book about Egypt. 'The Inheritors' (1955) was followed 'Pincher Martin' (1956), 'The Brass Butterfly' (a play, 1958), 'Free Fall' (1959), 'The Spire' (1964) and 'The Hot Gates' (1965), a collection of essays and reviews.

Golding's other novels are: 'The Pyramid' (1967), The Scorpion God' (three novellas, 1971), Darkness Visible' (1979), 'Rites of Passage' (1980) which won the Booker Prize, and is the first book of the trilogy 'To the Ends of the Earth', 'The Paper Men' (1984) and 'The Double Tongue' (1995).

In 1961, he was able to resign as a school teacher and in 1983 was awarded the Nobel prize for literature. Golding died in 1993 at his home in Perranarworthal, near Truro.

From the guide to the William Golding's 'The Plays of Christopher Marlowe', 1921, (Special Collections Archives, University of Exeter (GB0029))


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  • Male authors, English--20th century--Correspondence


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