Lord of the Flies
(Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)
By William Golding
(Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780140283334, 192pp.)
Publication Date: October 1, 1999
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William Golding's compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic. At first it seems as though it is all going to be great fun; but the fun before long becomes furious and life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic and death. As ordinary standards of behaviour collapse, the whole world the boys know collapses with them—the world of cricket and homework and adventure stories—and another world is revealed beneath, primitive and terrible.
Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was first published in 1954, igniting passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature. Though critically acclaimed, it was largely ignored upon its initial publication. Yet soon it became a cult favorite among both students and literary critics who compared it to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye in its influence on modern thought and literature.
Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies has established itself as a true classic.
Born in Cornwall, England, in 1911 and educated at Oxford University, William Gerald Golding's first book, Poems, was published in 1935. Following a stint in the Royal Navy and other diversions during and after World War II, Golding wrote Lord of the Flies while teaching school. This was the first of several novels including Pincher Martin, Free Fall, and The Inheritors and a play, The Brass Butterfly, which led to his being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983.