Describe the initial public reaction to the novel Lord of the Flies when it was first released. 

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

William Golding began writing the novel Lord of the Flies in 1952 and finished the story in 1953. Unfortunately, numerous publishers rejected Golding's novel until Faber and Faber published the book on September 17, 1954. The only reason Faber and Faber even agreed to publish the novel was because a new editor named Charles Monteith was so passionate about it. When the novel released, it was met with little commercial success and only sold 4,662 copies. Unfortunately, the novel fell out of print a year after its release. Critics did not find the portrayal of human nature appealing and wrote that the book had excessive violence and bad language. However, when E.M. Forester commented that Lord of the Flies was his "outstanding novel of the year," public reaction to the book began to change. As more readers took an interest in the story, the novel's popularity snowballed and it became a cult classic. It has sold over ten million copies and has even been adapted to film. William Golding went on to win the Noble Prize in Literature for the novel in 1983. 

ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

William Golding wrote "Lord of The Flies."  It was rejected by over 20 publishers before, in 1954, it was finally published.  The story made very little impact in sales, but the novel has always created debate.  Many people didn't like the terrible portrayal of human nature, some people felt the book was too violent.  As far as outright sales were concerend the book just didn't sell many copies.  According to research here on ENotes:

"Four years later (1959), however, when a paperback edition appeared, Golding’s sales, promoted by word of mouth, began to increase. Not long afterward, Lord of the Flies became required reading in many secondary schools and colleges, prompting interest in his subsequent work. In 1983, Golding received the Nobel Prize in Literature."

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Lord of the Flies

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