William Golding: The Man who Wrote Lord of the Flies Paperback – 2 Sep 2010
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
William Golding: The Man Who Wrote Lord of the Flies is the first biography of the Nobel Prize-winning novelist William Golding by celebrated writer and critic John Carey.
About the Author
John Carey is Emeritus Merton Professor of English at Oxford University, a distinguished critic, reviewer and broadcaster, and the author of several books, including studies of Donne, Dickens and Thackeray, as well as The Intellectuals and the Masses. He is the editor of Faber anthologies of Reportage, Utopias and Science. His most recent book, What Good are the Arts?, was praised by Blake Morrison as 'incisive and inspirational.'
Customers who bought this item also bought
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Carey does not assume that the reader has read all Golding's novels and his summaries, especially of those that are lesser known, are helpful. The literary criticism is far from excessive, but contains some interesting perceptions.
Altogether a fine biography of a great novelist and an interesting and finally likeable man.
Carey writes with insight into the great man's fears including his surprising and abiding sense of social inadequacy. Golding's personal development, as portrayed by Carey, was jagged. His lack of inner confidence seems to have been well hidden beneath a bluff nautical exterior - as was his latent part-homosexuality, or at least sexual ambivalence. Golding wrote of himself as a 'monster'. Was this because of his abhorrence of his own homosexual leanings? The burden of his son David's 'madness' or neuroses must have been considerable. (Was it partly driven by a response to his father's suppressed homosexuality?) His wife Ann is a major missing presence in the book. She started out radical and powerful but then disappears from the biography.
Golding's religious or God-sense is strong but was also strangely undeveloped. Similarly, he was anti-intellectual ... and yet read Latin and Greek texts most of his life and delivered a bundle of lectures. Carey does give a nicely balanced sense of Golding's imperfections and his ruthless honesty about himself - and he made me want to read more by Golding, which is a good sign. This readable biography could have been much better if the author had insisted on a rigorous editing of his own work. And what a feeble sub-title!
Professor Carey makes it very clear that Golding wrote novels the equal of that first novel; in fact, he shows how the success of "Lord of the Flies" became a kind of albatross around Golding's neck, even though it enabled him to give up teaching (which he loathed) as a career.
Fortunately, the greater emphasis is placed on the literary achievements rather than the life, not that Professor Carey stints on the life, but in the end it is the works that made William Golding known to us. We find out that Golding considered himself a "monster", that he had a drink problem, that he was considered not "quite a gentleman" at Balliol College, Oxford, that he "bribed" classes to keep quiet at the Salisbury Grammar school where he taught, with the promise of one of his marvellous stories towards the end of the lesson, and that he felt great guilt about a rejection of a former girlfriend to marry Ann, his wife for over forty years until Golding's death in 1993.
But it is the assessment of the novels that makes this biography so special. Professor Carey is a careful critic, ever willing to highlight Golding's special genius but also equally careful in his assessment of Golding's creative weaknesses.
A biography worthy of comparison with Richard Ellman's "James Joyce."