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William Golding

William Golding was born in 1911 at Saint Columb Minor in Cornwall. He was educated at the Marlbourgh Grammar School, where his father taught English literature. After graduation he worked for a short period as an actor and writer, and then began teaching English.
During the Second World War he enlisted in the Royal Navy and commanded a small racket-launching ship. Present at both the sinking of the Bismarck, and the D-Day landing in June 1944, Golding was shocked by the violence of the war and the evil he witnessed, both from the enemy and his own side, and soon lost the idea that an innocent nature is the real human characteristic. He came to believe that even children are inherently evil, thus foreshadowing the major idea of his most famous novel, Lord of the Files. At the end of the war Golding returned to teaching English and Philosophy.

His first novel, Lord of the Files, came out in 1954. It describes the adventures of British schoolboys who, trapped on an island in the Pacific, fall into barbaric behaviour. At first it was rejected by several publishers, but it became a surprise success. Golding’s The Inheritors, published the following year, continued to develop along similar lines, namely, the inherent from teaching in 1961 and devoted himself exclusively to writing. In 1964 he pubblished The Spire (1964), an allegory about the protagonist’s obsessive determination to build a cathedral spire.
Golding’s later novels include The pyramid (1967), Darkness Visibile (1979) and Rites of Passage (1980). This later novel won the Booker prize, the most important award in English literature, and inspired two further sequel, Close Quarters (1987) and Fire Down Below (1989). All these novels describe the realities of life aboard a ship durino the Napoleonic Wars.
William Golding died in Cornwall in 1993. He had been awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1983 “for his novels which, with the perspeicuity of realistic narrative and the diversità and universalità of myth, illuminate the human condition in the world of today”.

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