Magazine August 16, 2010, Issue

Through A Glass, Darkly

Lord of the Flies by William Golding (Putnam/Amazon)
William Golding, The Man Who Wrote Lord of the Flies: A Life, by John Carey (Free Press, 592 pp., $32.50)

We’ll never know for sure what the English writer William Golding (1911–93), a publicly private man, would have thought about the publication of this book. Thanks partly to Golding’s failure to cooperate, no biographies of him were published during his lifetime, but the assumption that follows from that would probably be wrong. Feast has followed famine: To help him in his work on this book, the Golding family granted John Carey, a prominent Oxford academic, distinguished literary critic, and acquaintance of Golding, access to the author’s previously closed archive. It was a hoard too extensive not to have been designed

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