William Golding's 'The Plays of Christopher Marlowe'

Scope and Content

William Golding's personal copy of 'The Plays of Christopher Marlowe', Everyman's Library no.383, London, J.M.Dent, 1921. Inscribed 'William Gerald Golding' on first page and annotated in pencil.

Notes on 13 pages: viii, xi, xii, 121, 123, 126, 130, 132, 141, 144, 151, 227, 231. Scoring and underling on pages 135, 377-394 and other pages. See loose slip enclosed inside front cover.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir William Gerald Golding (1911-1993), novelist, was born in Newquay, Cornwall at his grandmother's house. He was educated at Marlborough Grammar School, where his father taught and Brasenose College, Oxford, reading natural science before transferring to English Literature. In 1934 he published a small volume, 'Poems', in Macmillan's Contemporary Poets Series.

He moved to London in 1935, working as a writer, actor and producer for a small, non-commercial theatre before taking up teaching in 1939 when he married and had a family. At this time he was also involved in adult education, teaching in army camps and Maidstone gaol.

During the World War II he served in the Royal Navy, firstly working in a weapons research unit where he was injured, then trained to bring mine-sweepers from New York. He later commanded a landing craft equipped with rocket guns, taking part in the D-day landings and the invasion of Walcheren.

He returned to writing and teaching after the war. 'Lord of the flies', his first and best known novel, was not published until 1954 by Faber and Faber, after being rejected by 21 publishers and changes to the text. It was an immediate success,

Golding wrote 12 novels, many essays and reviews, poems, short stories and a travel book about Egypt. 'The Inheritors' (1955) was followed 'Pincher Martin' (1956), 'The Brass Butterfly' (a play, 1958), 'Free Fall' (1959), 'The Spire' (1964) and 'The Hot Gates' (1965), a collection of essays and reviews.

Golding's other novels are: 'The Pyramid' (1967), The Scorpion God' (three novellas, 1971), Darkness Visible' (1979), 'Rites of Passage' (1980) which won the Booker Prize, and is the first book of the trilogy 'To the Ends of the Earth', 'The Paper Men' (1984) and 'The Double Tongue' (1995).

In 1961, he was able to resign as a school teacher and in 1983 was awarded the Nobel prize for literature. Golding died in 1993 at his home in Perranarworthal, near Truro.

Access Information

Usual EUL arrangements apply.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by Special Collections on the suggestion of Tim Kendall

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Archivist's Note

Description created by Sue Inskip, 10 Oct 2008. Revised Christine Faunch 19 Aug 2010.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual EUL restrictions apply