The Well Is Not the World: William Golding’s Sense of Reality in Darkness Visible

  • Stephen MulhallEmail author


This essay is a study of the writer William Golding’s distinctive ways of generating what one might call a sense of reality in his novel Darkness Visible, which appeared at a point in the history of English literature at which the project of literary realism found itself in a condition of modernism. I understand this condition as one in which one’s relation to history has become an undismissable problem: in the case of Golding’s novel, this relationship is at once to the history of England, the history of religion, and the history of literature (specifically, its roots in classical Roman texts; in Shakespearean versions of pastoral; and in the fabular as presented in fairy tales). Exploring these links involves exploiting resources from the philosophy of Wittgenstein, and from work I have previously published on J.M. Coetzee’s exemplification of modernist realism in literature.


William Golding Darkness Visible Magic realism Modernism 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OxfordOxfordUK

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