THE SPIRE by William Colding


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Golding's new novel, which is almost midway between his early and modern allegories, tells the story of the hallowed and haunted vision of Dean Jocelin and his attempt to build a spire which will add glory to his Cathedral but which has no firmer foundations than his faith. Month in and month out, Jocelin, prodded by his Angel, hopes to ""draw a few simple lines on the sky""; it is an affirmation of belief which defies physical laws and denies the ugliness of the world which lies below, this slanting spire on pillars which bend with the wind. His conceit becomes known as Jocelin's Folly; his master builder Roger Mason discredits it; Pangall, one of his faithful workmen, deserts and abandons his wife to die so that Jocelin cannot exercise her memory; discord leads to the desertion of the church; and finally Jocelin's dream destroys him in a chiarascuro of good and evil... Golding's novel-something of a medieval miracle play- is a succession of strong, sombre tableaux, which, like the spire, has its scaffolding in one man's apocalyptic vision. Sui generis, it may also be a special taste, but it has a curious insistence and, cumulatively, a singular fascination.

Pub Date: April 22nd, 1964
Publisher: arcourt, Brace & World