William Golding Timeline

  • Birth

    Born in Saint Columb Minor, Cornwall, England. He lived with mother, Mildred, who was a supporter of the British suffragette movement and his father, Alec, who was a schoolteacher and an ardent advocate of rationalism.
    Picture: William Golding (right)
  • College Education

    College Education
    Attended Brasenose College in Oxford. He first majored in science, but in his third year, he switched to literature.
  • College Graduation

    College Graduation
    Graduated from Brasenose College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a diploma in education.
  • Post-college Career

    Post-college Career
    He worked as a writer, actor and producer with a small theater in London. He considered theater to be the strongest literary influence, and said that Greek tragedians and Shakespeare were his primary influences.
  • Teaching Career/ Later Life

    Teaching Career/ Later Life
    He began teaching English and Philosophy at Bishop Wordsworth's School in Salisbury. It has been said working with boys at the school gave him inspiration for his later novel, Lord of the Flies. Later that year, he got married to Ann Brookfield and had two kids, David (b. 1940) and Judith (b. 1945).
  • Joining the Royal Navy

    Joining the Royal Navy
    Although William had always had a passion for teaching, he temporarily left the profession to join the Royal Navy and fight in World War II.
  • Leaving Royal Navy

    Leaving Royal Navy
    After experiencing cruelty and barbarity during his time in the war, William served the Royal Navy for 5 years before leaving. He wrote about his wartime experiences, stating, "man produces evil, as a bee produces honey." William developed lots of stories coming back to the problem of evil, the conflict between reason's civilizing influence, and mankind's innate desire for domination.
  • Publishing of Lord of the Flies

    Publishing of Lord of the Flies
    After the book was reject by 21 publishers, it was published in 1954. The book is a combination of perception of humanity and his years of experience with the schoolboys.
  • The Inheirtors

    The Inheirtors
    This is a novel written by William Golding shortly after the publication of Lord of the Flies. This story is about a depiction of how the violent Homo sapiens achieved victory over the Neanderthals.
  • Pincher Martin

    Pincher Martin
    This is story is written a year after The Inheritors, and is very similar to Lord of the Flies. The story talks about survival after shipwreck.
  • Free Fall

    Free Fall
    Free Fall is a novel told in a first person narrator, which is different from his first three novels. It is a collection of love poems intertwined with the main character's commentary on the poems.
  • Leaving Bishop Wordsworth's School

    Leaving Bishop Wordsworth's School
    Golding began to teach at this school in 1939, only leaving in 1940 to join the Royal Navy. When he returned, he resumed his position as a teacher until 1961, when he left permanently to become a full time writer.
  • Lord of the Flies Film

    Lord of the Flies Film
    Peter Brook made an adaptation on William's critically acclaimed novel, Lord of the Flies. This was created two years after William retied from teaching.
  • The Spire

    The Spire
    Issues of faith are also addressed in this novel. The novel tells the story of the human costs of the spire's construction and the lessons that the main character, Dean, learns too late.
  • The Pyramid

    The Pyramid
    The main issue or conflict in this book is revolved around music. The entire novel examines the English social class within a town named, Stilbourne.
  • The Scorpion God: Three Short Novels

    The Scorpion God: Three Short Novels
    Each story explores the negative repercussions of technological progress. One of the novellas had been originally published in 1956, but then Golding turned it into a comedic play called, The Brass Butterfly. It was first performed in 1958 in London.
  • Darkness Visible

    Darkness Visible
    The story tells the tale between good and evil, which is represented by two characters. Sophy, who plots to kidnap a child for ransom, and Matty, who gives his life to prevent it.
  • The Sea Trilogy

    The Sea Trilogy
    All of the books are based on emotional education and moral growth of a young man named Edmund Talbot. The first book of the trilogy is, Rites of Passage (1980) shows Talbot's spiritual growth. The second book is, Close Quarters (1987) depicts his emotional and aesthetic development. And the final book is, ire Down Below (1989) covers his political enlightenment.
  • Nobel Peace Prize

    Nobel Peace Prize
    William Golding receives the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize for Literature. This was rewarded to him because of his excellent work on his novels.
  • The Paper Men

    The Paper Men
    This novel was condemned by reviewers as his worst work because the novel seemed to condemn literary critics. The plot concerns an elderly novelist trying to elude a young scholar who wants to write his biography.
  • Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II

    Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II
    William Golding was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1988. He also received the honorary designation Commander of the British Empire (CBE).
  • Second Lord of the Flies Film

    Second Lord of the Flies Film
    This is the newer version of the Lord of the Flies film. It brought attention to new generations of readers 27 years after the first film was made.
  • Death

    On this day, William Golding died of a heart attack at age 82. After Golding died, the completed manuscript for The Double Tonuge was published.