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Summary Article: Lord of the Flies
from Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase and Fable

A novel (1954) by William Golding (1911-93), illustrating how internal and external pressures can cause a society to disintegrate, exemplified in this case by a group of schoolboys marooned on an island. The title represents one interpretation of the Hebrew term for Beelzebub, who appears in 2 Kings 1:2 as Baal-zebub, a Caananite god whose shrine is at Ekron, and in the New Testament as 'prince of the devils' (Matthew 12:24). In the story itself, the name 'Lord of the Flies' is applied to the fly-infested pig's head that the boys impale on a stick. A rather crude film version (1963) was directed by Peter Brook, and a US remake (1990) was little better. See also First lines of novels.

Copyright © Cassell / The Orion Publishing Group Ltd 2000, 2009

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