'That they will conquer the world is a nightmare that haunts me'.

The Double Tongue

Golding’s final novel, left in draft at his death, tells the story of Arieka, one of the last priestesses of Apollo to prophesy at Delphi, in the shadowy years when the Romans were securing their grip on the tribes and cities of Greece. The plain, unloved daughter of a local grandee, she is rescued from the contempt and neglect of her family by her Delphic role. Her ambiguous attitude to the god and her belief in him seem to move in parallel with the decline of the god himself – but things are more complicated than they appear.

Judy focuses on Golding's female narrator

Listen to Judy Golding discussing The Double Tongue

View Judy Golding introducing The Double Tongue


Female narrator

The Double Tongue is Golding’s first novel with a solely female narrator, told in the first person. Although Part Two of Darkness Visible is about Sophy, Golding tells […]



In The Double Tongue, Anticrates is Arieka’s father. He is a rich man who owns at least a mile of land near Delphi, which will […]

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'Words may, through the devotion, the skill, the passion and the luck of writers, prove to be the most powerful thing in the world'.

William Golding, Nobel Lecture, 1983