GOLDING, William Gerald. The Spire. London: R. MacLehose and Company Limited, The University Press Glasgow for Faber and Faber, 1964. 

Octavo (184 x 123mm), pp. 223, [1 (blank)]. (A few very light marks on quires N and O.) Original purple cloth, spine lettered and decorated in gilt, dustwrapper with illustration after John Piper, not price-clipped. (Extremities minimally rubbed, spine very slightly leant, dustwrapper very lightly rubbed at edges and very slightly browned on the lower panel.) A very good, clean copy in a very fresh, bright dustwrapper. ProvenanceStephen John Keynes OBE, FLS (1927-2017).

First edition. The Spire was Golding’s fifth novel and centres upon a Dean’s plans to build a huge spire at his cathedral, despite warnings about the architectural risks involved in creating such a grandiose edifice. Although the cathedral is never named, Golding had taught at Bishop Wordsworth’s School (which is within the grounds of Salisbury Cathedral) between 1945 and 1962, and it is believed that the restoration and partial rebuilding of the cathedral’s famous spire – the tallest in Britain – in 1949-1951 provided the initial inspiration for the novel. The Spire was published on 10 April 1964 in an edition of 15,326 copies, with a striking dustwrapper designed by the artist John Piper. 

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, A8(a).


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