Lord of the Flies
For my mother and father
A casebook edition of any work of literature is necessarily the result of work and good will by numerous people. We are deeply indebted to the writers who contributed the original materials contained in this volume.
We also wish to thank the authors, editors, and publishers who so kindly granted permissions for use of the previously published materials collected in this volume. Full acknowledgment for their valuable aid is printed in the headnote for each of the articles as well as original sources of publication.
The editors gratefully acknowledge the special courtesies of William Golding, J. T. C. Golding, Frank Kermode, Donald R. Spangler, Bruce P. Woodford, A. C. Willers and James Keating. The Introduction to this book originally appeared in the Arizona Quarterly. It is reprinted here (revised) by permission of the editor, Albert F. Gegenheimer.
For her expert aid in preparing the manuscript, our thanks to Mrs. Paul V. Anderson, and our special gratitude to Miss Helen Davidson, who not only performed routine secretarial duties but offered advice and kept spirits buoyant with her penetrating wit.
J. R. B.
A. P. Z., Jr.
It is most astonishing and lamentable that a book as widely read and frequently used in the classroom as William Gelding’s Lord of the Flies has received so little analytical attention from the critics. True, it has not been neglected; this volume attests to that. But despite the profusion of essays by a number of well-known and worthy critics, few close analyses of Golding’s technique can be found among them, few explications of the workings of the novel will be discovered.
Indeed, despite a running controversy over the meaning of the novel, critical articles fall largely into a pattern of plot summary and applause for the arrangement of the novel’s materials followed
by observations on Golding’s view of human nature, often embellished with the critic’s response to that view.
There are exceptions – they will be found among the essays in this book – like Claire Rosenfield’s psychological study of meaning, Carl Niemeyer’s comparative study of the novel and its antipathetic predecessor The Coral Island, Donald R. Spangler’s penetrating study of the function of Simon, and William Mueller’s discussion of the use of the various hunts.
Further explorations are needed in many areas, however, among them a careful scrutiny of the opening descriptions of Ralph and Jack in Chapter One. It is useful, but perhaps not very subtle, to point out that the former is immediately declared the “fair boy,” that he, like the angel Gabriel, sounds a horn that announces good news – that of survival – that Jack with his angular frame, black cloak and cap, and red hair is Lucifer-like.