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The Spire

A disturbing yet evocative portrait of inspired creativity and its cost. Jocelin, Dean of the Cathedral, is inspired and obsessed by his visionary aim of building the spire. The vision, he is convinced, comes from God, and he is God's instrument. However, in the process of fulfilling his aim, others are used as instruments too, with tragic consequences. The spire points at heaven but - of necessity -- has its roots in frailty and corruption. At the end of the novel, the spire stands, but the cost is great, a mixture as complex and ambiguous as humanity itself.

William Golding Limited has established a collaboration with the Centre for South West Writing based at the Streatham and Tremough campuses of the University of Exeter featuring original writing by graduate students. Read 'The Spire: A Construction of Desire' (PDF, 50 Kb) by Jane Costin, PhD student, University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus

The Spire

Salisbury spire by Constable

Golding's novel of ambition and architecture is set in the English middle ages. His vision of faith, hubris, earthly lust and religious guilt is thought to have been inspired by his close inspection of the spire at Salisbury Cathedral near the boys' grammar school where he taught for many years.

Salisbury Cathedral