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Lord of the Flies: (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century) Paperback – Oct 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (Oct. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140283331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140283334
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 1.3 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (485 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,118,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Golding was born in Cornwall in 1911 and was educated at Marlborough Grammar School and at Brasenose College, Oxford. Before he became a schoolmaster he was an actor, a lecturer, a small-boat sailor and a musician. A now rare volume, Poems, appeared in 1934. In 1940 he joined the Royal Navy and saw action against battleships, submarines and aircraft. He was present at the sinking of the Bismarck. He finished the war as a Lieutenant in command of a rocket ship, which was off the French coast for the D-day invasion, and later at the island of Welcheren. After the war he returned to Bishop Wordsworth's School in Salisbury and was there when his first novel, Lord of the Flies, was published in 1954. He gave up teaching in 1961.

Lord of the Flies was filmed by Peter Brook in 1963. Golding listed his hobbies as music, chess, sailing, archaeology and classical Greek (which he taught himself). Many of these subjects appear in his essay collections The Hot Gates and A Moving Target. He won the Booker Prize for his novel Rites of Passage in 1980, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983. He was knighted in 1988. He died at his home in the summer of 1993. The Double Tongue, a novel left in draft at his death, was published in June 1995.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Lord of the Flies , William Golding's classic tale about a group of English schoolboys who are plane-wrecked on a deserted island, is just as chilling and relevant today as when it was first published in 1954. At first, the stranded boys cooperate, attempting to gather food, make shelters, and maintain signal fires. Overseeing their efforts are Ralph, "the boy with fair hair," and Piggy, Ralph's chubby, wisdom-dispensing sidekick whose thick spectacles come in handy for lighting fires. Although Ralph tries to impose order and delegate responsibility, there are many in their number who would rather swim, play, or hunt the island's wild pig population. Soon Ralph's rules are being ignored or challenged outright. His fiercest antagonist is Jack, the redheaded leader of the pig hunters, who manages to lure away many of the boys to join his band of painted savages. The situation deteriorates as the trappings of civilization continue to fall away, until Ralph discovers that instead of being hunters, he and Piggy have become the hunted: "He forgot his words, his hunger and thirst, and became fear; hopeless fear on flying feet." Golding's gripping novel explores the boundary between human reason and animal instinct, all on the brutal playing field of adolescent competition. --Jennifer Hubert --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.


'Beautiful and desperate... something quite out of the ordinary.' --Observer

'Terrifying and haunting.' --Kingsley Amis

'Beautifully written, tragic and provocative.' --E. M. Forster --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
THE BOY WITH FAIR HAIR lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way toward the lagoon. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By jake Taylor on 16 May 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book and can be read on many different levels. It tells the story of a group of young children stranded on a deserted island, no adults, no order and what ensues.
It's a very powerful book, very simple yet very complex on different levels. It is highly relevant in today's society and we can all learn a lot from it. It is very real, at first you don't want to believe that children are capable of such atrocities, but as you read on you realise it is undeniable human nature. It is a very gruesome and horrible but it makes you aware of the depravity of the human race.
I was given this to read as a set book for school, once I started reading I couldn't put it down. It's not often that I am genuinely hooked on a book. It's suitable for all ages and readers who can read. William Golding uses deep character relationships which are very moving. The pace of the book is quite slow but it's very descriptive and you can build up a vivid mental picture.
This is a must read it has it all, and there is something in it for everyone. It is very honest and has lead me to question myself if I was stranded on a desert island with my classmates how would I react? Before reading Lord of the Flies I would have said I would be a leader and it would all be fine. After reading the book I fear my intentions would be honourable but I don't know about the consequences.
It is a short easy read and one of my all time favourites, an all time classic, buy it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 Mar. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I can’t remember the last time I read this book, but I must admit it was good to come back to something like this which is something that really draws you in. I should think that at least half the country by now has had to study this book at one time or another, and so loads of allegories and symbolism can be argued over certain passages in this novel.

At the beginning though it didn’t look like this book would be published at all, but after being pushed by an editor at Faber and Faber and requests for a few alterations this eventually hit the shelves in 1954. It is rather ironic that some of the most well known and popular books of the last century, that also made some authors household names were initially rejected by numerous publishers, so if you are a writer carry on and persist in your endeavours.

With a plane crash a group of schoolboys come together on a deserted island and have to make the best of things. Apart from a choir group who all know each other, and twins who obviously do know each other for the majority here they have never really met before and age from about six to twelve years old. William Golding was himself a school master for many years and so he knew and could see how children can become suddenly vicious when left to their own devices and this comes across very well in this book.

Ralph is arguably the main character in this book, but there is also Jack who is head of the choirboys, and Piggy, an overweight, bespectacled and asthmatic boy who is the most intelligent in the group. From the initial shock of their predicament we see how at first they try to get organised and make preparations for surviving and being rescued.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful By AmyV on 30 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a compelling novel, despite the content which is disturbing but true. Golding has turned young innocent children into animalistic savages, with stunning imagery and language that we have come to expect from him.
This edition is particually useful for anyone studying Lord of the Flies at school or college. The introductiion is very worth reading, giving background and insight into the book, helping with understanding of the plot and symbolism. The notes in the back are also interesting, explaining Goldings neologism "flinked" as well as most other points of interest in the novel. Highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback
This novel is an absolutely wonderful piece of literature. It is funny, moving, emotional, and beautifully crafted. Golding's attention to detail here are second to none, and the symbolism he uses in this fantastic novel is extremely complex.

The whole experience can smilarly be described as complex, but not complicated. It is easy to follow and enjoy, but as you look beneath the surface, the novel features surprises, foreshaddowing and religious significance.

As the boys lose their rules they develop and Jack forms his own tribe of terror, events in the book progress from simple bullying to stylised animal rape and even murder. Golding effectively uses these episodes to explore the darkness of man's heart, and the novel can show us what we are capable of in a similar situation.

The characters range from the Christ-like figure of Simon to the Satanic symbol that is Roger, and the opposite extremes provide a great contrast to create the tensions Golding has in the novel.

The effective conclusion is very pessimistic as is Golding's outlook on the subject:

"Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy".

It is a wonderful novel that everyone should read; as a good story, as beautiful literature and as a dire warning.
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