Lord of the Flies
Publication Date: July 27, 1959
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Before The Hunger Games there was Lord of the Flies
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.
"The most influential novel...since Salinger's Catcher in the Rye."
"Lord of the Flies [is my selection for The Book That Changed My Life] because it is both a story with a message and because it is a great tale of adventure. My advice about reading is to do a lot of it."
-- Stephen King, for the National Book Foundation, The Book That Changed My Life
"[T]his brilliant work is a frightening parody on man's return (in a few weeks) to that state of darkness from which it took him thousands of years to emerge. Fully to succeed, a fantasy must approach very close to reality. Lord of the Flies does. It must also be superbly written. It is."
-- The New York Times Book Review
"[S]parely and elegantly written...Lord of the Flies is a grim anti-pastoral in which adults are disguised as children who replicate the worst of their elders' heritage of ignorance, violence, and warfare."
-- Joyce Carol Oates, New York Review of Books