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The Nobel Prize-winning author concludes the trilogy he began with "Rites of Passage," the winner of the Booker Prize, and "Close Quarters"
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William Golding was born in Cornwall in 1911 and was educated at Marlborough Grammar School and at Brasenose College, Oxford. Before he became a schoolmaster he was an actor, a lecturer, a small-boat sailor and a musician. A now rare volume, Poems, appeared in 1934. In 1940 he joined the Royal Navy and saw action against battleships, and also took part in the pursuit of the Bismarck. He finished the war as a Lieutenant in command of a rocket ship, which was off the French coast for the D-Day invasion, and later at the island of Welcheren. After the war he returned to Bishop Wordsworth's School in Salisbury and was there when his first novel, Lord of the Flies, was published in 1954. He gave up teaching in 1961. Lord of the Flies was filmed by Peter Brook in 1963. Golding listed his hobbies as music, chess, sailing, archaeology and classical Greek (which he taught himself). Many of these subjects appear in his essay collections The Hot Gates and A Moving Target. He won the Booker Prize for his novel Rites of Passage in 1980, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983. He was knighted in 1988. He died at his home in the summer of 1993. The Double Tongue, a novel left in draft at his death, was published in June 1995.From Publishers Weekly:
The conclusion of the trilogy he began with the Booker Prize-winning Rites of Passage (1980) and followed with Close Quarters (1987), Nobel Laureate Golding's densely complex, subtle and exacting latest novel tussles intriguingly with thematic and formal problems that have occupied the author in his previous works. The present trilogy enriches itself by self-consciously playing off its fictional precursors in a number of dimensions, including, most obviously, that of the voyage of self-discovery. In relating an almost year-long voyage (in the Napoleonic era) from England to the Antipodes of a motley band of passengers and the crew of a decrepit former man-o'-war as they experience many of life's dramas, the trilogy evokes tales by Melville, Voltaire and Homer among others. And the novels may be further interpreted not only as the Bildungsroman of aristocratic young narrator, Edmund FitzHenry Talbot, by means of myth's revelatory reversal that exposes the disjunction between appearances and reality, but also (given the autobiographical details) as a means to Golding's own ironic self-discovery. The narrative's beautiful, otherworldly descriptions of the sea and air, as the ship, twice damaged by errors of judgment on the part of its younger officer, flounders in terrifyingly heavy seas, evoke a metaphysical, mythic dimension. This rich and problematical text resists facile interpretation even as it delights through Golding's witty and poetic evocation of the language of the period.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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