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To the Ends of the Earth

The acknowledged starting point for 'A Sea Trilogy' was an episode in Elizabeth Longford's biography of the Duke of Wellington, a terrible story which made it necessary, Golding said, for him to try to understand how someone could die of shame. But the tragic story of the Reverend Colley, though central to the work, is set in a context which had pre-occupied Golding for most of his life − the world of the sea, and the ships which sail on it. A lifelong obsession for him, as well, was the diagnosis and delineation of the English disease of class. Golding fills the unnamed old ship, where Colley suffers and dies, with a 'village' of characters from the multifarious and precisely anatomised layers of English life.

To the Ends of the Earth

Sea Trilogy TV photo

To the Ends of the Earth is the 'Sea Trilogy' title for three of Golding's most gripping - and funniest - novels: Rites of Passage, Close Quarters, and Fire Down Below. BBC 2 broadcast a three-part television dramatisation of the trilogy in May-June 2005. The adaptation starred Benedict Cumberbatch, Sam Neill, Victoria Hamilton and Jared Harris, and was filmed partly in South Africa, near Capetown.

BBC TV adaptation of Golding's 'To the Ends of the Earth'

John Carey's new biography of William Golding

John Carey

Drawing almost entirely on materials that have never before been made public, John Carey, the distinguished writer and critic, sheds new light on Golding. Through hundreds of letters, unpublished works and Golding's intimate journals, Carey draws a revelatory and definitive portrait of an extraordinary man. In an absorbing and compelling narrative, he reveals a many-sided figure: a war-hero, a reclusive depressive who considered himself a 'monster', a family man, a victim of fears and phobias who battled against alcoholism, and a writer who trusted the imagination above all things.

Follow the link below to hear 'audio snippets' where Carey reads from his highly praised new biography.

William Golding: The Man Who Wrote Lord of the Flies