Born in 1911 Saint Columb Minor in Cornwall, England, Sir William Gerald Golding was educated at the Marlborough Grammar School, where his father taught, and later at Brasenose College, Oxford. Although educated to be a scientist at the wishes of his father, he soon developed a great interest in literature, becoming first devoted to Anglo-Saxon and then writing poetry. At Oxford he studied English literature and philosophy. Following a short period of time in which he worked at a settlement house and in small theater companies as both an actor and a writer, Golding became a schoolmaster at Bishop Wordsworth's School in Salisbury. During the second world war he joined the Royal Navy and was involved in the sinking of the German battleship Bismarck, but following the war he returned to Bishop Wordsworth's School, where he taught until the early sixties.
In 1954, Golding published his first novel, Lord of the Flies, which details the adventures of British schoolboys stranded on an island in the Pacific who descend into barbaric behavior. Although at first rejected by twenty-one different publishing houses, Golding's first novel become a surprise success. E.M. Forster declared Lord of the Flies the outstanding novel of its year, while Time and Tide called it "not only a first-rate adventure story but a parable of our times". Golding continued to develop similar themes concerning the inherent violence in human nature in his next novel, The Inheritors, published the following year. This novel deals with the last days of Neanderthal man. The Inheritors posits that the Cro-Magnon "fire-builders" triumphed over Neanderthal man as much by violence and deceit as by any natural superiority. His subsequent works include Pincher Martin (1956), the story of a guilt-ridden naval officer who faces an agonizing death, Free Fall (1959), and The Spire (1964), each of which deal with the depravity of human nature. The Spire is an allegory concerning the protagonist's obsessive...
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