Popular and Critical Reception
Although a writer's popular reputation is separable from the critical assessment of his achievement, particularly as the latter changes and develops through time, both kinds of reception are relevant in considering fiction that, like Golding's, is simultaneously difficult and involving. Thoughtful and discerning critical judgement can lead to a fuller understanding both of individual novels and of the changes visible over a whole career. The phenomenon of popularity and possible reasons for it also require treatment, both as an indication of what within Golding's fiction generates such wide and strong reponse and as a potentially interesting statement about the literate culture at a particular point in history. Serious and complicated as he is in presenting his versions of human experience, Golding has never scorned or dismissed the element of popularity among the generally literate. In addition, critics are also readers within a particular cultural setting and ordinary readers can be thoughtfully critical. The categories of response, distinguishable at their extremes, often, partially and in practice, impinge on one another.
KeywordsCritical Reception Social Commentary Literary Culture Greek Literature Religious Vision
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