'Lord of the Flies' is Published

The premise: A planeload of young boys is marooned on a nameless tropical island and they are forced to fend for themselves.

If this novel had been written in the 19th century it would have been about the cheery, whimsical never-neverland the boys created. But in Golding's version, the veneer of childish purity wears away quickly in the absence of adults, and the boys become two warring tribes, one under the saintly Ralph and his asthmatic sidekick Piggy, one under the savage ex-choir-leader Jack. Golding tracks the fall of this new Eden with pitiless, meticulous care and total psychological clarity, and in the process he ruthlessly strips away the myths and cliches of childhood innocence forever.

Lord of the Flies, first published in 1954, has sold millions of copies worldwide (more than 25 million in English alone). It has been translated into all the major languages, and many minority ones (Georgian, Basque, Catalan). It has been adapted for radio, made into two films, dramatized for the stage. It has reached the status of a cultural referent that does not need to be named: the Conch has been used as a symbol for explaining things as diverse as internet protocols and voting structures; Piggy's spectacles and physique have become a recognizable icon. What is more, any gathering of active, unruly children is likely to be described as "like something out of Lord of the Flies". The power of Golding's tragedy has had such effect that the novel risks being oversimplified by its own legend. But a re-reading of the novel will always sweep one back to the freshness and vividness of the text, the characters remaining real children, and the tragedy continuing to be unbearable. The extraordinary beauty of Golding's coral island and the poignancy of his characters' youth and vulnerability produce an experience of unique and perpetually surprising intensity.