GOLDING, William Gerald. Free Fall. London: Latimer, Trend & Co Ltd for Faber and Faber, 1959. 

Octavo (187 x 119mm), pp. 253, [1 (blank)], [2 (blank l.)]. (A few very light marginal marks, small chip on lower margin of D1.) Original red cloth, spine lettered and decorated in gilt, dustwrapper with illustration after Anthony Gross, not price-clipped. (Extremities minimally rubbed, spine slightly leant, dustwrapper edges creased and with small chips and tears, lower panel slightly marked.) A very good copy in the dustwrapper. ProvenanceStephen John Keynes OBE, FLS (1927-2017).

First edition. Free Fall was Golding’s fourth novel and takes the form of a first-person narrative in which Samuel Mountjoy, a talented painter, undergoes interrogation and then solitary confinement in a German prisoner-of-war camp during World War II. Mountjoy recalls his previous life and engages in profound introspection upon the nature of freedom and the inadequacies of religion and ideology as his mental state deteriorates – a descent which is only halted when he is abruptly freed from the room in which he has been incarcerated. Free Fall was published on 23 October 1959 in an edition of 7,500 copies and its success helped Golding to resign his position as a schoolmaster at Bishop Wordsworth’s School, Salisbury in order to become a full-time writer.

This copy is from the library of the noted bibliophile Stephen Keynes, the founder and chairman of the Charles Darwin Trust, and a member of the Roxburghe Club.

Gekoski and Grogan, William Golding, A6(a).


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