Letter Reveals Lord of the Flies was Censored

Sir William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies, was born in Newquay and a newly released letter, has now revealed that his original famous manuscript was censored.

William was born at 47 Mountwise, Newquay on 19 September 1911 at his grandmother’s house, where he also spent many summer holidays. The house is now the Blenheim Hotel, who were presented with a plaque to commemorate his birthplace.

Lord of the Flies is a classic novel which charts the descent into savagery of a group of marooned schoolboys. The publishers ordered Golding to remove the Christian theme from the book before it was even published.William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies

The letter has been discovered as it’s now the centenary of William Golding’s birth, meaning a lot of old correspondence has been released. The letters show that Golding was told to remove the Christianity as well as details of a nuclear holocaust from the book. Golding won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

In 1985 Golding returned to Cornwall to live, buying Tullimaar House at Perranarworthal, near Truro, dying eight years later, in June 1993, of heart failure. Lord of the Flies was his first book, a tale of civilisation crashing into barbarism. It had already been rejected 10 times when Faber and Faber reversed their decision and gave him a chance to have the book printed.

Details of correspondence between Faber & Faber and Mr Golding are now able to be released and show arguments between the two parties. The letters form a central part of a new display at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Also on display for the first time is the original rejection note from Faber which called the novel “an absurd and uninteresting fantasy. Rubbish and dull”. Alongside this is Golding’s handwritten copy of the unedited novel. After its initial rejection, a relatively new publishing executive, Charles Montieth, picked it up and was drawn to the story and the character of Piggy, with whom, as a spectacled and slightly fat individual, he saw parallels with himself in his youth.

His wife, Mabel Ann Golding (nee Brookfield), died in Cornwall two years later at the beginning of 1995.

Tullimaar House, Perranarworthal, TR3 7NT was sold in June 1998 for £450,000.

** Archived October 2011 **

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Image © Dutch national Archives

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