The Novels of William Golding

Topics: William Golding, Pincher Martin, Faber and Faber Pages: 176 (65634 words) Published: February 15, 2013

The Novels of William Golding

The Novels of William Golding

The Ohio State University Press

Howard S. Babb

The Novels of William Golding

All quotations from LORD OF THE FLIES

by William Golding are reprinted by permission of
Faber and Faber, Ltd., and Coward-McCann, Inc.
Copyright © 1954 by William Gerald Golding.

All quotations from William Golding's THE INHERITORS,

PINCHER MARTIN (original American title: THE TWO DEATHS


are reprinted by permission of Faber and Faber, Ltd., and Harcourt, Brace, and World, Inc. Copyright © 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1964, 1966, 1967 by William Gerald Golding.


All Rights Reserved Library of Congress Catalogue Number 74-83143 International Standard Book Number O-8142-O187-3




Acknowledgments viii
Introduction x
Lord of the Flies 6
The Inheritors 36
Pincher Martin 64
Free Fall 96
The Spire 134
The Pyramid 168
Conclusion 198
Index 206


I am indebted to the University of California for an appoint­ ment to the Humanities Institute in the summer of 1966 that enabled me to write part of this book. I wish to thank Faber and Faber, Ltd., and Coward-McCann, Inc., for permission to quote from Lord of the Flies; I am grateful to Faber and Faber, Ltd., and to Harcourt, Brace, and World, Inc., for permission to quote from The Inheritors, Pincher Martin (first published in the United States as The Two Deaths of Christopher Martin), Free Fall, The Spire, and The Pyra­ mid. The editors of Essays in Criticism and The Minnesota Review have kindly permitted me to use, in somewhat altered form, articles about Golding's work that I first published in those journals: a part of the chapter on Pincher Martin origi­ nally appeared under the title "On the Ending of Pincher Martin" in Essays in Criticism, XIV (1964); and portions of the chapters on Lord of the Flies, The Inheritors, Pincher Martin, and Free Fall originally appeared under the title "Four Passages from William Golding's Fiction" in The Min­ nesota Review, V (1965). For expert typing, I am thankful to Mrs. Betty Becker, Mrs. Mary Gazlay, Mrs. Virginia McQuaid, Miss Sue Smith, and Miss Cathy Smith. For many hours of editorial work I am indebted to Richard A. McKee. Hazard Adams, as my chairman at Irvine, has given me specific support in a number of ways, while as scholar, critic, and person he has provided a continuing example to all of us in the department. My greatest debt, however, is to my wife and son, who have endured the writing of this book. HOWARD S. BABB

University of California, Irvine August, 1969


Without much preliminary ado, I shall examine in the fol­ lowing chapters the series of novels that William Golding began publishing in 1954, for they seem to me extraordinary books, more so than their public reception would indicate. The first of them, Lord of the Flies, has proved by all odds the most successful, and Golding's fame depends on it in large part. The Inheritors—rather oddly, I think—has never caught the public fancy. Pincher Martin is much more widely known, achieving a certain notoriety, indeed, because of its ending, which reveals that the leading character has in fact died near the start of the story. But neither Free Fall nor The Spire, though published with some fanfare, has demonstrated anything like the appeal of Lord of the Flies for the general reader, and certainly The Pyramid does not seem to have captured his attention. Probably at present the body of Golding's work is more esteemed by critics than by the public. Although Lord of the Flies has had its detractors —in part, I suspect, precisely because of its popular success —it has generated a good deal of critical dicussion in the years since its publication, and...
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