Tag Archives: William Golding

First Edition: ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding #oldbooks

A moral for all times about self-governance, Lord of the Flies was the first novel of schoolteacher William Golding. It tells the story of a group of British schoolboys stranded on an uninhabited island and their disastrous attempts to govern themselves. It was not an instant hit, going out of print in the USA a year after publication, but it went onto be a bestseller.

William Golding

Faber original UK cover 1954

In the middle of an unspecified war, a plane crashes on a remote island in the Pacific. Fair-haired Ralph believes that grown-ups will come to rescue them, but Piggy says they should get organised. “Put first things first and act proper.” The novel explores the conflicting human impulses towards civilisation, social order, living according to the rules, with the pursuit of power. It is abrilliantly observed study of teenagers free of the usual rules and conventions imposed by adults.
Artwork for the first UK Faber edition [above], published on September 17, 1954 is by Anthony Gross. The current Faber edition [below] was first published in 1997. Buy here.

William Golding

Faber 1997 current ed

The story
During a wartime evacuation, a British aeroplane crashes on an isolated island in the Pacific Ocean. The only survivors are adolescent boys. Two boys – fair-haired Ralph, and spectacles-wearing Piggy – find a conch which Ralph uses as a horn to draw all the boys into one place. As Ralph appears responsible for bringing them all together, he commands some authority over the boys and is elected chief, despite not winning the votes of a boys’ choir led by Jack. In the early days the boys discover a source of food in fruit and wild pigs. But Piggy quickly becomes the butt of jokes and the initial sense of order disappears as the boys become idle. Their time is spent having fun and developing paranoias about the island; particularly a ‘beast’ that they all begin to believe exists.

The films
There have been three film adaptations based on the book. In 1963, Peter Brook’s Lord of the Flies was supported by Golding. In 1976 there was a Filipino television film called Alkitrang Dugo, the third Lord of the Flies film in 1990 was directed by Harry Hook.

Other editions 

If you like old books, check out these:-
‘Ulysses’ by James Joyce
‘101 Dalmations’ by Dodie Smith
‘The Sea, The Sea’ by Iris Murdoch

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
First Edition: LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding #oldbooks https://wp.me/p5gEM4-3G7 via @SandraDanby

Great opening paragraph…56

Lord of the Flies“The boy with the fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way towards the lagoon. Though he had taken off his school sweater and trailed it now from one hand, his grey shirt stuck to him and his hair was plastered to his forehead. All round him the long scar smashed into the jungle was a bath of heat. He was clambering heavily among the creepers and the broken trunks when a bird, a vision of red and yellow, flashed upwards with a witch-like cry; and this cry was echoed by another.”

‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding