The Temple of Gold

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The Temple of Gold
First edition
Author William Goldman
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Knopf
Publication date
14 October 1957
Pages 277

The Temple of Gold is a 1957 novel by William Goldman. It was Goldman's first novel, and launched his career.


The novel was written in three weeks over the summer he graduated from college, in June-July 1956.[1] Goldman had never written a novel before, but had several years experience of writing short stories.

The title Temple of Gold was taken from the film Gunga Din.[2] Another influence on the book was the novel Bonjour Trieste.[3]

Goldman had recently done military service and met a man who had an agent. He sent the novel to the agent, and through him got representation from Joe McCrindle. McCrindle sent it to Knopf, who accepted it for publication.[4][5] Goldman said Knopf:

Wanted me to double it in length and I didn't know what to do about that... That's still the most amazing thing I've ever heard any young writer be told. I was able to do it through some kind of madness but, Jesus, it's an insane thing for an editor to say.[6]

Goldman says he has "no idea why" Knopf accepted the novel "but one of the things that happened, there was an interest in publishing books by young writers and I was one of those writers who basically got picked up along with it."[7] Goldman later reflected:

I never would have continued as a writer if The Temple of Gold had not been taken by the first publisher I sent it to. I'm not that masochistic. There was no way I was going to write anymore. I didn't know that then, but I know it now. There was no encouragement; no one ever said I had any talent. I had never written anything much over two pages long. I had done badly in school in terms of writing. I did not want to be a failure, but I did not have the courage to write a second book if the first had not been accepted.[8]

A 2001 Ballantine paperback edition of the novel included as an afterword a first chapter removed by Knopf.[9]


According to Goldman, "the book, like most of my books, got crucified in hardcover and was a very, very successful book in paperback. Most of the books that I've written had their success in paperback."[10]


  1. ^ "Butch Cassidy' Was: My Western, 'Magic' Is My Hitchcock' 'Magic' Is My Hitchcock" By RALPH TYLER. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 12 Nov 1978: D23.
  2. ^ William Goldman, Which Lie Did I Tell?, Bloomsbury 2000 p 243-244
  3. ^ Egan p 14
  4. ^ Egan p 9
  5. ^ 'William Goldman, an Early Success', Chicago Tribune (1963-Current file) [Chicago, Ill] 02 Aug 1964: l1.
  6. ^ Egan p 9
  7. ^ Egan p 10
  8. ^ Richard Andersen, William Goldman, Twayne Publishers, 1979 p 26
  9. ^ Egan p 16
  10. ^ Egan p 18
  • Egan, Sean, William Goldman: The Reluctant Storyteller, Bear Manor Media 2014