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Book Description

Golding's satire on academia. Octavo (214 x 136mm), pp. 191, [1 (blank)]. (Unobtrusive small marks on pp. [1/2] and 147/148.) Original black boards, spine lettered in silver, dustwrapper with design after Paul Hogarth, not price-clipped. (Dustwrapper minimally creased at edges, small marks on verso at lower edge.) A very good copy in a very good dustwrapper.
Dealer Notes
First edition. Published the year after William Golding (1911-1993) was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1983, The Paper Men was issued on 6 February 1984 in an edition of 104,978 copies. The Paper Men takes its title from the poem by T.S. Eliot (a director of Faber and Faber, as was Eliot’s former colleague Charles Monteith, the dedicatee of Golding’s novel), and examines Golding’s own discomfort at being ‘the raw material of an academic light industry’ (A Moving Target (London, 1982), p. 169) through the fraught relationship between the established writer Wilfred Barclay and the young American academic Rick Tucker. The character of Tucker – whose obsessive ambition is to be Barclay’s authorised biographer and editor of Barclay’s papers after the writer’s death – was drawn in part from Golding’s experiences with the academic Professor James R. Baker, the author of William Golding: A Critical Study (1965) and editor of Critical Essays on William Golding (1988), who had insisted on visiting Golding in 1979 and 1981, much to the latter’s annoyance.

As John Carey recorded, Golding struggled with the novel and the various drafts were afflicted not only by typographic errors but also by other errors; for example, Rick Tucker was originally named ‘Jake’ and ‘[e]ven Faber’s copy-editing could not cope, and “Rick” appears as “Jake” three times in the first edition’ (William Golding: The Man who Wrote Lord of the Flies (New York, 2009), p. 427).

Gekoski and Grogan, William Golding, A15(a).
Author GOLDING, William Gerald
Date 1984
Publisher London: Redwood Burn Limited for Faber and Faber

Price: £17.50

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