William Golding

Understanding the world

When William Golding (1911-1993) was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983, the Nobel Foundation cited:

[...] his novels which, with the perspicuity of realistic narrative art and the diversity and universality of myth, illuminate the human condition in the world of today

Those novels are relatively few in number – twelve. Golding also wrote plays, many essays and reviews, several short stories, some poems, and a travel book about Egypt. He left at his death a journal of more than two million words. Many of his attempts at other works survive in manuscript or typescript. He seems to have known from childhood that he wanted to be a writer. His first published work appeared when he was twenty-three.

Quite apart from his obvious achievements as a writer, it is worth pointing out the vast range and diversity of the subject matter of his novels, and the challenge he set himself. Perhaps his greatest achievement is to have lived through the most terrible and inhumane of centuries, and to have left behind a body of work that can be said to reflect much of the horror of that time as well as an understanding of it.

Source: William Golding site