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William Golding Books In Order

Publication Order of To The Ends Of The Earth Books

Rites of Passage (1980) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Close Quarters (1987) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Fire Down Below (1989) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Lord of the Flies (1954) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Inheritors (1955) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Pincher Martin (1956) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Free Fall (1959) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Spire (1964) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Pyramid (1967) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Darkness Visible (1979) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Paper Men (1984) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Double Tongue (1995) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Plays

The Brass Butterfly (1958) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Hot Gates (1965) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Moving Target (1982) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Egyptian Journal (1983) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


Born on 19th September, 1911 in Saint Columb Minor, England, William Golding was raised in a small house near a graveyard in the 14th century. His father Alex Golding worked as a Schoolmaster and his mother, Mildred Golding, was an active member of suffragette; a movement that was involved in fighting for the rights of women especially the rights to vote.

As a child, William attended school at Marlborough Grammar School, which was ran by his father. At 12 years, he unsuccessfully attempted to write a novel. Frustrated, he found solace in bullying his peers. Later in his life, he referred to himself as being a brat when he was a child though he also stated to have loved hurting people then.

After primary school, William joined Brasenose College at Oxford University to study science. However, two years later he developed a passion in literature and transferred to a program of English literature and philosophy against his father’s wish. He became devoted to both poetry and Anglo-Saxon texts which he studied and wrote with a lot of enthusiasm. He spent five years in Oxford.

In 1934, one year after he graduated from college William Golding published his first book which was composed of poems. It was not a success and it was ignored by critics.

At this time, he had been working in various positions in small theater companies and at a settlement house as both a writer and an actor. He later decided to follow the footsteps of his father and become a teacher. In 1935, he took up a position as an English and philosophy teacher at Bishop Wordsworth’s School in Salisbury.

Although William had developed a passion in teaching, in 1940 he temporary left the teaching profession to join the Royal Navy where he was involved in fighting the World War II.

In the next 6 years, he spent most of his time on boats except for a 7 months stint where he was based in New York. While there, he assisted Lord Cherwell in Naval Research Establishment.

William developed a lasting passion for sailing and the seas while in Royal Navy. He fought battleships, was involved in sinking the Bismarck and he fend off planes and submarines. He was even placed in charge of launching crafts.

During the World War II, William stated that he was able to see what people were really capable of doing. “Anyone who lived those years without knowing that men could produce evil just like a bee can produce honey must not have been right in their head”, Golding stated. However, his participation in the World War II was worth it, as it became a fruitful material for his fiction and creativity.

After the World War II in 1945, Golding went back to writing and teaching in Bishop Wordsworth’s School where he taught until early 1960.

His experience as a teacher to unruly young boys inspired him to write his first novel “Lord of the Flies” which was published in 1954 after having been rejected 21 times by different publishers. Golding had sent a manuscript to Faber and Faber publishers and their reader rejected it. Charles Monteith, a new editor in the firm later championed it but he requested for some changes which William made and the book was published.

The novel narrated the story of group of adolescent boys who were stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash. This novel explored the savage side of human nature as boys who have been let loose from the society constraints and brutally turned against each other by an imagined enemy.

Packed with symbolism, the bool set the tone of William Golding’s work in which he examined the internal struggle and behavior of men towards good and evil. After its publication, the book was regarded as being classic and it became a discussion in most classrooms all over the world.

Golding’s next novel The inheritor’ was also based the same theme of inherent violence in the human nature and it was published in 1955. It narrates the story of the last days of Neanderthal man. The inheritors speculate that the Cro-Magnon firebuilders won over the Neanderthal man through deceit and violence. His other works include Pincher Martin’ published in 1956 and “The Spire” published in 1964 which deal with depravity of the human nature. The Spire narrates a story about the obsessive determination of a protagonist to build a cathedral spire despite the consequences.

In 1963 after he retired from teaching, Peter Brook created a film adaptation of Golding’s famed book “Lord of the Flies”.

Besides his poems and novels collection, Golding published a play called “The brass Butterfly” in 1958, “The Hot Gates” in 1965 and “A moving Target” in 1982.

Goldings final works included “Darkness Visible” which was published in 1979 about the story of a boy who was badly injured in the World War II during London blitz and “Rites of Passage” published in 1980. “Rites of Passage” won the McConnel prize, a prestigious award for English literature and it inspired two films; “Fire Down Below” in 1989 and “Close Quarters” and 1987. These two novels talk about life on a ship during Napoleonic war.

In 1983, William won a Nobel Prize for literature for his amazing work as a writer which was described by the Nobel committee as being a realistic narrative of art and the universality and diversity of myth. His work exposed the human condition in the World War II. In 1988, Queen Elizabeth II knighted him.

Golding spent his last years in his Tullimaar House at Perranarworthal near Truro in Cornwall with his wife, Ann Brookfield, an analytical chemist where he continued to write. The couple had been married since 30th September, 1939 and had two children Judith born in 1945 and David born in 1940.

He died on 19th June, 1993, from a heart attack in Perranarworthal, Cornwall. Just before his death, he was working on his unfinished manuscript “The double tongue” which deals with the rise of Roman civilization and the fall of Hellenic culture. It was later finished and posthumously published in 1995.

He was buried in churchyard a village at Bowerchalke, South Wiltshire near the Dorset county and Hampshire boundaries

In 1990, a new film based on Goldings famous novel “Lord of the flies” was released bringing a new level of attention from the millennial generation of readers.

While William Golding mainly focused on being a novelist, he also did plays, poetry, essays as well as short stories.

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