The British author William Golding won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1983 for his highly praised masterpiece "Lord of the Flies." The book is about a group of English schoolboys who are marooned on an island. They develop a system of rules that governs their community, but when one boy kills another, everything they have built falls apart.
It first published in England in 1954 and has been widely acclaimed ever since. The New York Times called it "astonishing" and "stunning," while Entertainment Weekly said it was "as chilling now as when it was first written." Golding himself called it a "novel about anarchy."
In addition to being one of the best-selling novels of all time, "Lord of the Flies" has been used as a source of inspiration for many other books and films. It has been cited by many authors including John Steinbeck, James Joyce, and Vladimir Nabokov, who referred to it as "a wonderful novel."
Golding was born on January 4th, 1911. He was educated at Winchester College and then Oxford University where he studied history. After graduating, he worked in various jobs including teacher before he started writing full time in 1949.
Poems, William Golding's first book of poetry, was published in 1934. Following WWII, he began work on the novel Lord of the Flies, which was published in 1954 after multiple rejections.
He originally called it A Nightmare Bully and described it as "a story about five boys who are marooned on an island with nothing but a pack of dogs for company." It is this basic plot that most other young adult novels have followed since its release. In addition to being one of the best-known novels about isolation, abandonment, and violence, it has been cited as an influence on many writers including John Green and Dan Brown.
Golding later said he started writing the novel because he wanted to understand what would make good men turn into animals. He spent three years working on it and used his own experiences as inspiration for some of the characters. For example, the character Jack describes himself as a "rude boy" after being sent to school for kicking a teacher during an air raid. Another character, Simon, is based on Charles Manson following Manson's release from prison where he had served time for murder.
Manson had read Lord of the Flies when he was incarcerated and was so impressed by it that he ordered his followers to go out and do the same thing. When they failed, he had them executed.
Golding's Writing Influences William Golding was affected by a multitude of elements prior to authoring Lord of the Flies, whether historical, cultural, or literary. Much of his impact stemmed from his involvement in World War II, which he witnessed personally. After being commissioned into the Royal Air Force in 1940, Golding was sent to Egypt where he trained to be a pilot.
While there, he read Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha and Henry David Thoreau's Walden, both of which inspired him to change careers. When war broke out, he was assigned to a bomber crew that was tasked with attacking German ships with high-explosive bombs called "depth charges." One night while on patrol over the English Channel, their plane was attacked by a group of German Luftwaffe planes who fired upon them with machine guns and cannon shells. Only one member of the crew survived this attack; Golding himself had severe shrapnel wounds but survived.
This experience changed his perspective on life dramatically. Prior to the war, he had hoped to fly overseas for adventure and earn some money, but now he knew such things were possible only in books. He also realized that fighting against other people's beliefs about what should be done with humanity was more important than anything else.
Upon returning home from hospital after having his legs amputated above the knee, Golding began writing.