Education: Lord of the Campus

Back in England last week after a year in the U.S., British Author William Golding recalled his interrogation by American college students. "The question most asked was, Is there any hope for humanity?' I very dutifully said 'yes-'" Golding's credentials for being asked such a monumental query—and for answering it—rest on one accomplishment: his Lord of the Flies, a grim parable that holds out precious little hope for humanity, and is the most influential novel among U.S. undergraduates since Salinger's Catcher in the Rye.

When Lord of the Flies was first published in the...

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