Darkness Visible (Magill's Literary Annual 1980)
Like all of William Golding’s novels, Darkness Visible, his most recent major fiction, treats as a fable, or didactic moral tale, aspects of the theme of Christian salvation. In his 1962 essay entitled “Fable,” reprinted in The Hot Gates and other occasional pieces (1966), Golding explicitly describes the beliefs that control his purposes as a moralist:Man is a fallen being. He is gripped by original sin. His nature is sinful and his state perilous. I accept the theology and admit the triteness; but what is trite is true; and a truism can become more than a truism when it is a belief passionately held.
The author’s artistic credo applies most directly to Lord of the Flies, his first and most popular book, but in different ways it applies as well to his later novels. In Lord of the Flies, Jack and his fellow hunters, isolated from civilized society, revert to a primitive condition of “original sin.” Similarly, in The Inheritors, Golding’s fable of the inherent evil in human nature which extends to man’s ancestors, the murderous Cro-Magnon (Homo sapiens) people who exterminate their gentle rivals, the Neanderthals. In other novels, Golding exposes the folly of man’s prideful belief in his rationality. For example, Christopher Martin (Pincher Martin), a naval officer in...
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Bibliography (Masterplots II: British and Commonwealth Fiction Series)
Babb, Howard S. The Novels of William Golding, 1970.
Baker, James R. William Golding: A Critical Study, 1965.
Dick, Bernard F. William Golding, 1967.
Gindin, James. Postwar British Fiction: New Accents and Attitudes, 1962.
Golding, William. The Hot Gates and Other Pieces, 1965.
Johnston, Arnold. Of Earth and Darkness: The Novels of William Golding, 1980.
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