ArtView June 2014 - Page 4

To publish an acclaimed first novel must be the dream of every author. For that first novel to be hailed as a classic within the author’s lifetime is beyond a dream. Yet for some writers who have experienced this, early success came at a heavy price. One of the most outstanding examples is William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies. It was his first book, published in 1954, when Golding was past 40. He had been struggling for years as a teacher in a small provincial school. When he sent out the manuscript of his book, it was rejected by one publisher after another. That was hardly surprising, considering that he sent it out with a terse, barelylegible, hand-scrawled note: “I hope you will feel able to publish it...” Finally it landed on the desk of the reader at Faber and Faber. She promptly marked it as a reject: “Absurd and uninteresting fantasy... Rubbish and dull. Pointless.” Fortunately, one of the editors later picked it up from the reject pile and had another look. He felt that First edition (1954) only a few critical changes were needed, before the book went to print. course of his long career, none of which achieved the Lord of the Flies was soon recognised as a same kind of success or recognition. He felt that the landmark study in the dark aspects of human nature. early success of Lord of the Flies had overshadowed, It was lauded as one of the great books of the century, unfairly, his later works – which he believed to be and would earn Golding the Nobel Prize for much more important. He would come to say that the Literature. Yet in later years, he came to look back on classic status of the book was a “joke.” When he his first book with feelings of deep resentment. He reread it late in his life, he said, “I found it boring and wrote several more novels and other works in the crude. The language is O level stuff.”