Autumn 1957 • Vol. XIX No. 4 Nonfiction |

The Fables of William Golding

John Peter THE FABLES OF WILLIAM GOLDING1 A useful critical distinction may be drawn between a fiction and a fable. Like most worthwhile distinctions it is often easy to detect, less easy to define. The difficulty arises because the clearest definition would be in terms of an author's intentions, his pre-verbal procedures, and these are largely inscrutable and wholly imprecise. For a definition that is objective and specific we are reduced to an "as if," which is at best clumsy and at worst perhaps delusive. The distinction itself seems real enough. Fables are those narratives which leave the impression that tlheir purpose was anterior, some initial thesis or contention wvhich they are appar- ently concerned to embody and express in concrete terms. Fables always give the impression that they were preceded by the conclusion whiclh it is tlheir function to draw, though of course it is doubtful whether any author foresees his conclusions as fully as this, and unlikely that his work wou

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By John Peter

John Peter THE FABLES OF WILLIAM GOLDING1 A useful critical distinction may be drawn between a fiction and a fable. Like most worthwhile distinctions it is often easy to detect, […]

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