24 July 2007

Charles Williams: A Bibliography

This is the sixth and last installment in a series:
The Order of the Golden Dawn
Personality & Influence
Writing Style

First, here's an annotated selected bibliography. Then below is a list of all his publications, to the best of my knowledge. Any additions are welcome.

Essential reading in the oeuvre of Williams begins with his startling, convoluted novels, in the following recommended order. War in Heaven (London: Victor Gollancz, 1930) employs the most straightforward plot and straightforward writing style. It opens with this delightful sentence: “The telephone bell was ringing wildly, but without result, since there was no-one in the room but the corpse.” The Place of the Lion (London: Mundanus, 1931) is a fantastic romp with the Platonic archetypes let loose in rural England. Many Dimensions (London: Victor Gollancz, 1930), The Greater Trumps (London: Victor Gollancz, 1932), and All Hallow's Eve (London: Faber & Faber, 1945) explore the powers and limitations of magic (especially two fields in which he personally specialized, Tarot and Kabbala) and the proximity of the noumenal to the phenomenal. Descent into Hell (London: Faber & Faber, 1937) is his prose tour de force. It integrates all of his distinctive themes: substitution, simultaneity, silence, serenity, the unity of body and soul in tension with the dualism of self, and the power of poetry (Williams once employed the name of its playwright-hero, Peter Stanhope, as a pseudonym). The characters discuss timeless Christian doctrines in fresh diction, without platitudes. The pacing of events is admirable, with cycles of intensity alternating with passages of vague visionary stasis and tranquil revelation.
After mastering the sinuous, agile writing style in Williams’s prose narratives, an adventuresome reader should proceed to his remarkable Arthurian poetry: Taliessin through Logres (1938) and The Region of the Summer Stars (1944). These dense, crystalline, lucid volumes of verse were published together with Arthurian Torso (which contains the prose Figure of Arthur and C. S. Lewis’s commentary on the poems) by Oxford University Press in 1954. Lewis offers helpful glosses and an invaluable suggested reading order, as the poems are arranged according to thought-patterns rather than chronology. Williams’s plays, theology, and literary criticism also offer surprising readings of life and literature, due to his perspicacious mind and unique brand of holistic Christian mysticism.
There is only one full-length biographical study of Williams available (Alice Mary Hadfield: Charles Williams: An Exploration of His Life and Work. Oxford UP, 1983), but another is due out in 2008 by Oxford University Press (Grevel Lindop: Charles Williams: The Last Magician; see the writer’s home page for quotes and details). Thomas Howard’s The Novels of Charles Williams (NY: Oxford UP, 1983; San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1991) is the essential guide through the spiritual thrillers. The Image of the City, edited by Anne Ridler (Oxford University Press, 1958), is a useful compendium of essays. Glen Cavaliero, Stephen Dunning, and Mary McDermott Shideler have also written valuable studies. The official website of the Charles Williams Society is an indispensable resource for up-to-date information.

Bibliography of all works by and about Charles Williams

· Shadows of Ecstasy. London: Victor Gollancz, 1933.
· War in Heaven. London: Victor Gollancz, 1930.
· Many Dimensions. London: Victor Gollancz, 1930.
· The Place of the Lion. London: Mundanus, 1931.
· The Greater Trumps. London: Victor Gollancz, 1932.
· Descent into Hell. London: Faber & Faber, 1937.
· All Hallow's Eve. London: Faber & Faber, 1945.
· The Noises That Weren't There. Unfinished.

· Three Plays. Oxford UP, 1931. Contains The Witch (1931), The
Chaste Wanton
(1930), and The Rite of the Passion (1929).
· Collected Plays by Charles Williams, edited by John Heath-Stubbs.
Oxford UP, 1963. Contains Thomas Cranmer of Canterbury (1935),
Judgement at Chelmsford (1939), Seed of Adam (1936), The
Death of Good Fortune
(1939), The House by the Stable (1939),
Grab and Grace (1941), House of the Octopus (1945), Terror
of Light
(1940), and The Three Temptations (1942).
· The Masques of Amen House, edited by David Bratman. Mythopoeic Press,
2000. Contains The Masque of the Manuscript (1927), The Masque of
(1929), The Masque of the Termination of Copyright (1930).

· The Silver Stair. London: Herbert and Daniel, 1912.
· Poems of Conformity. Oxford UP, 1917.
· Divorce. Oxford UP, 1920.
· Windows of Night. Oxford UP, 1924.
· Heroes and Kings. London: Sylvan Press, 1930.
· Taliessin through Logres (1938) and The Region of the Summer Stars
(1944). Oxford UP, 1954.

· He Came Down from Heaven. London: Heinemann, 1938.
· The Descent of the Dove: A Short History of the Holy Spirit in the
. London: Longmans, Green, 1939.
· Witchcraft. London: Faber & Faber, 1941.
· The Forgiveness of Sins. London: G. Bles, 1942.

Literary Criticism
· Poetry at Present. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1930.
· The English Poetic Mind. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1932.
· Reason and Beauty in the Poetic Mind. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1933.
· The Figure of Beatrice. London: Faber & Faber, 1943.
· The Figure of Arthur. Unfinished. Published posthumously in
Arthurian Torso (with C.S.L's commentary on Williams's Arthurian
poetry), Oxford UP, 1948.
· The Image of the City and Other Essays, edited by Anne Ridler. Oxford
UP, 1958.
· The Detective Fiction Reviews of Charles Williams, edited by Jared C.
Lobdell. McFarland, 2003.
· Religion and Love in Dante: The Theology of Romantic Love.
Pennsylvania: Folcroft Library Editions, 1974.

· Bacon. London: Arthur Barker, 1933.
· James I. London: Arthur Barker, 1934.
· Rochester. London: Arthur Barker, 1935.
· Queen Elizabeth. London: Duckworth, 1936.
· Henry VII. London: Arthur Barker, 1937.
· Stories of Great Names. Oxford UP, 1937.
· Flecker of Dean Close. London: Canterbury Press, 1946.

· Letters to Lalage: The Letters of Charles Williams to Lois Lang-Sims.
Kent State UP, 1989.
· To Michal from Serge: Letters from Charles Williams to His Wife Florence,
, edited by Roma King Jr. Kent State UP, 2002.
· short story, "Et in Sempiternum Pereant" in The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories, 1986.
· Many of Williams's papers are housed at the Marion E. Wade Center.

Biographies and Studies of Williams and his work:
· Lindop, Grevel. Charles Williams: The Last Magician. (To be published in 2008 by Oxford University Press).
· Howard, Thomas. The Novels of Charles Williams. NY: Oxford UP, 1983; San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1991. This is the essential guide!
· Hadfield, Alice Mary. An Introduction to Charles Williams. London: Robert Hale Ltd, 1959.
· Hadfield, Alice Mary. Charles Williams: An Exploration of His Life and Work. Oxford UP, 1983.
· Cavaliero, Glen. Charles Williams: Poet of Theology.Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI, 1995.
· Horne, Brian. Charles Williams: A Celebration. Leominster : Gracewing, 1995.
· Cavaliero, Glen. Diagram of glory: a study of Charles Williams.
· Schkel, Peter, and Charles Huttar, eds. Rhetoric of vision: Essays on Charles Williams. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press; London; Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, 1996.
· King, Roma Jr., The Pattern in the Web: The Mythical Poetry of Charles Williams. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1990.
· Schideler, Mary McDermott. The Theology of Romantic Love: A Study in the Writings of Charles Williams. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1966.
· Hefling, Charles, ed. Charles Williams: Essential Writing in Spirituality and Theology. Cambridge, MA: Cowley publications, 1993.
· Hopkins, G. W. S. Biography of Charles Williams in The Dictionary of National Biography, 1941-50
· Dunning, Stephen M. and Glen Cavaliero. The crisis and the quest: a Kierkegaardian reading of Charles Williams. Carlisle, Cumbria; Waynesboro, GA: Paternoster Press, 2000.
· Hillegas, Mark R. Shadows of imagination: the fantasies of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1979.
· Frederick, Candice. Women among the inklings: gender, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2001.
· Moorman, Charles. Arthurian triptych; mythic materials in Charles Williams, C.S. Lewis, and T.S. Eliot. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1960.
· Urang, Gunnar. Shadows of heaven; religion and fantasy in the writing of C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and J.R.R. Tolkien. Philadelphia: Pilgrim Press, 1971.
· Ashenden, Gavin. Charles Williams: alchemy and integration. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 2007.
· Glenn, Lois. Charles W.S. Williams: a checklist. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1975.
· Fuller, Edmund. Myth, allegory, and gospel; an interpretation of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton [and] Charles Williams. Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1974.
· Duriez, Colin and David Porter. The Inklings handbook: a comprehensive guide to the lives, thought, and writings of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, Owen Barfield, and their friends. St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2001.
· Knight, Gareth. The magical world of Charles Williams. Oceanside, CA: Sun Chalice Books, 2002.
· Reilly, Robert James. Romantic religion: a study of Owen Barfield, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams and J.R.R. Tolkien . Great Barrington, MA: Lindisfarne; Edinburgh: Floris, 2007.
· Charles Williams Society: Notes on the Taliessin poems of Charles Williams. Oxford: Charles Williams Society, 1991.
· Heath-Stubbs, John. Charles Williams. London: Published for the British Council and the National Book League, 1955.
· Willard, Thomas. "Acts of the Companions: A. E. Waite's Fellowship and
the Novels of Charles Williams" in Secret Texts: The Literature of
Secret Societies.
Eds. Marie Mulvey Roberts and Hugh Ormsby-Lennon.
New York: AMS Press, 1995. pp. 269-302.
· Carpenter, Humphrey. The Inklings: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and their friends. London: HarperCollins, 2006.
· Cavaliero, Glen. The supernatural and English fiction. NY: Oxford UP, 1995.
· Jacobs, Alan. The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis. HarperCollins, 2005.

Useful webpages:
· The Charles Williams Society
· The Co-Inherence Discussion List
· Article by Thomas Howard in Touchstone Magazine
· Homepage of CW's new biographer!
· Daily blog of CW's Year of Devotional Writing
· Biography by G.W.S. Hopkins
· Bibliography
· Inklings description and members
· Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
· excerpts from books on the Inklings
· Glen Cavliero on the novels
· some of his poems!
· A Beginner's Bibliography of the Inklings
· Creepy account of his occult involvement
· article by Scott McLaren on the early novels
· review of All Hallow's Eve
· influence of Golden Dawn on literature
· Live Journal discussion of the Inklings

Articles on JSTOR that cite CW’s scholarly work:
1. Torrens, James. “Charles Maurras and Eliot's ‘New Life’.” PMLA, Vol. 89, No. 2. (Mar., 1974), pp. 312-322. 15 July 2007.

2. Olson, Paul R. “Theme and Structure in the Exordium of the Paradiso.” Italica, Vol. 39, No. 2. (Jun., 1962), pp. 89-104. 15 July 2007.

3. Firmat, Gustavo Perez. “Descent into "Paradiso": A Study of Heaven and Homosexuality.” Hispania, Vol. 59, No. 2. (May, 1976), pp. 247-257.

4.The Militant Miltonist; or, the Retreat from Humanism. M. K. Starkman. ELH, Vol. 26, No. 2. (Jun., 1959), pp. 209-228.

5. The Existential Oedipus. Richmond Y. Hathorn. The Classical Journal, Vol. 53, No. 5. (Feb., 1958), pp. 223-230.

6. An Interview with Robert Duncan. Jack R. Cohn; Thomas J. O'Donnell; Robert Duncan. Contemporary Literature, Vol. 21, No. 4. (Autumn, 1980), pp. 513-548.


Gretchen said...

Wow! Thanks for letting me know about this! I can't wait to get a few uninterrupted moments to dive into your blog and read all about CW. The guy was amazing. His mysticism and friendship with Lewis were what initially attracted me to him. I'll be back! Nice to meet you, too.

Kathleen Hamilton said...

Thanks for your comment on my summer reading list. I did read the Williams--it was my least favorite of the four I have read so far. I actually read Descent Into Hell first, and loved it. I followed that with Many Dimensions, and then The Greater Trumps. So, I pretty much did it backward from your recommendations. In any case, I'll have to read your posts on CW. He's a very interesting fellow!

Ken said...


I am freaked out, intimidated, and amazed at your super-duper Charles Williams project. What are you up to? Is this business or pleasure?

Thanks for commenting on my page. I don't know how you found it. My best guess is that you're addicted to Charles Williams in the worst way, and you Google him late into every night looking in vain for new posts, much in the way I Google Ron Paul.

I'd like to know more about you. You teach, I read somewhere?

(btw, I'm the guy from )

Iambic Admonit said...

Thank you for all your comments, new friends! Great to hear your thoughts. Gretchen: yes, his connection with CSL first drew me to CW, but I soon came to see that he was out on a whole other limb, so to speak. He's so delightfully crazy, wow.

Kathleen, it looks like you're only really missing The Place of the Lion; I'd love to hear more from you when you get a chance to read some of my posts.

Ken, yup, you got it right; my fellow blog writer and I have been googling CW all over the place and I'm trying to give comments to everybody who has thoughts on his writing. As to business or pleasure... well, both. I was writing an entry on CW for the upcoming Encyclopedia of Christian Literature, but did way more work than I probably had to, just for the sheer joy. And all this while in my intensive summer Master's program, crazy me! But I look forward to your future thoughts as well. Thanks!

Oh, and yes, I teach at two arts academies in PA. I get to teach all kinds of creative courses in literature, writing, philosophy, music.... Life is good.