Monday, 25 July 2011

Stephen King on 'Lord of the Flies' - Telegraph | Norway's island of hell

Stephen King on 'Lord of the Flies' - Telegraph

This year marks William Golding's centenary. To mark the occasion Faber & Faber are reissuing his first two novels, The Lord of the Flies and The Inheritors.

The second includes an introduction by the author's biographer, John Carey. I spoke to Carey recently for a feature on Golding, which I'll publish here in due course. Carey, an Oxford professor, mentioned the fact that the Lord Of the Flies included an introduction from Stephen King, which The Telegraph have reproduced. Read it by following the link above. He said how surprised he was that Faber had somehow picked up on the fact that King was a fan of Golding's work.

In a sense, it isn't that much of a shock to discover that the horror writer supreme is a Golding fan. King's writing orbits the same themes that lie within Golding's novel: the inherent evil that man is capable of. Carey pointed out that this pessimistic view of the human race made Golding far less popular than he might otherwise have been with both critics and the general public. His gloominess was not welcome in Britain -- though he did get far more recognition eventually in Europe. And Golding did of course win the Nobel Prize for Literature. A prize initiated by a Norwegian arms manufacturer to promote the best in art, science and, yes, peace making.

This weekend Norway suffered the single worst terrorist atrocity to visit Europe in decades. Perhaps ever. One man - a driven, calculating, deluded individual, the kind of 'unrealistic' extreme character crime writers are often criticised for dreaming up - has taken about 100 lives. Despatched as if they were avatars in a video game.

Most of them were teenagers serious and caring enough about their society to be attending a summer camp run by a political party where they indulged in those dangerous habits of discussions and debate. Their voices were silenced by extreme violence on an island that turned into hell. My thoughts are with Norway this week and with what human beings are capable of.

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