Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Golding, [Sir] William

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(1911-1993) UK writer, winner of the Nobel Literature Prize in 1983, best-known for his first novel, Lord of the Flies (1954), filmed twice as Lord of the Flies. Like almost all his work, this tale generates a sense that the underlying Story being told is both opaque and crystalline; his work seems – more perhaps than that of any other contemporary UK mainstream novelist – to be telling Fables from deep waters. Though told anew, each WM novel seems to unfold a story which pre-exists its telling: his work feels, therefore, very much like fantasy. Only one of his novels, however, comes close to the form. Pincher Martin (1956; vt The Two Deaths of Christopher Martin 1957 US) is almost certainly a Posthumous Fantasy, though it is possible to read the story as occupying the very short period between the sinking of the protagonist's ship in WWII, and his death by drowning. A more resonant reading of the tale understands it to represent Martin's ranting attempts to sort out the shambles of the life he has unwittingly departed. In this light, when he discovers that the tiny Island to which he has been clinging is identical in shape to a diseased tooth he has been feeling with his tongue, he may be thought to be closing in posthumously on wisdom. [JC]

[Sir] William Gerald Golding


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.