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Charles Walter Williams Books In Order

Publication Order of Aspects of Power Books

War in Heaven (1930) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Many Dimensions (1931) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Place of the Lion (1931) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Greater Trumps (1932) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Shadows of Ecstasy (1933) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Descent into Hell (1937) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
All Hallows' Eve (1945) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Masques of Amen House (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Collections

A Charles Williams Reader (1964) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Et in Sempiternum Pereant (1935) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

He Came Down from Heaven (1938) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Charles Williams
Charles Walter Stansby Williams was born September 20, 1886 in London, England, as the only son to Walter Stansby Williams, a foreign business correspondent for an importing firm and a journalist and Mary, a former milliner. He had a sister, named Edith. He was a British novelist, poet, theologian, literary critic, and one of the Inklings.

The family lived in “shabby-genteel” circumstances, which was due to Walter’s increasing blindness and the firm’s decline that he was employed by, in Holloway. The family moved, in the year 1894, to St. Albans in Hertfordshire, where Charles lived until he got married.

Charles was educated at St. Albans School, and was given a scholarship to University College London, but he left the school in the year 1904 without trying to get a degree because he was unable to pay his tuition.

In the year 1904, Williams started working in a Methodist Bookroom. In the year 1908, he was hired by Oxford University Press to be a proofreading assistant and quickly climbed to the rank of editor. He would work at the OUP in various positions with increasing responsibility until he died in the year 1945. One of his biggest achievements as an editor is the first major English-language publication of the works of Soren Kierkegaard.

In the year 1917, he married Florence Conway, his first sweetheart, which followed a long courtship. It was during this time that he presented her with a sonnet sequence that later became “The Silver Stair”, his first published book of poetry. In the year 1922, their son Michael was born.

Moving to Oxford during the second world war allowed him to take part in C.S. Lewis’ literary society called the Inklings. It was in this setting that he was able to read, as well as improve, his last published novel “All Hallows’ Eve”. He even got to hear J.R.R. Tolkien read to the group some of the early drafts of “The Lord of the Rings”.

In addition to meeting in Lewis’ rooms at Oxford, they would also meet at The Eagle and Child pub in Oxford. It was during this time that Williams also lectured on John Milton at Oxford.

More recent fantasy authors with contemporary settings have cited Williams as both a model and an inspiration, most notably Tim Powers. W. H. Auden, one of Williams’ biggest admirers, has re-read Williams’ highly unconventional and extraordinary history of the church “The Descent of the Dove” ever year.

One of Charles’ best friends was C. S. Lewis. He came to know Lewis after he read Lewis’s then-newly published “The Allegory of Love”, and was so impressed he wrote him a letter of congratulations. Coincidentally, Lewis had finished reading “The Place of the Lion” and wrote a similar note, congratulating Charles. The notes crossed in the mail and the pair wound up having a fruitful and enduring friendship.

T.S. Eliot was a fan of Charles’, too. Charles’ novel, “Descent Into Hell” was rejected by publishers because it fit into the “theological thriller” description that is given to some of Charles’ works. It is a novel that features psychological and spiritual elements, and forgoes the detective fiction style of many of his other supernatural stories.

That being said, T.S. Eliot’s publisher Faber and Faber later picked up the novel, because he admired Williams’ work. Even though he was not as big of a fan of this novel as he was of Williams’ other books, he desired to see it get into print. It is now generally thought to be Charles’ best novel.

Charles gathered quite a few disciples and followers during his life. He was, for a time, one of the members of Salvator Mundi Temple of the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross.

The best way to be fully equipped to the task of following the thought in one of his volumes is to have spent many talkative hours in his company and have read its fellows. The craft of lecturing and the art of conversation were his two most provocative, fruitful, and brilliant methods to communicate with others.

He was a devoted and an unswerving member of the Church of England, and had a refreshing tolerance of others’ skepticism. He had a firm belief in a “doubting Thomas” being a necessity in any apostolic body.

He died May 15, 1945 in Oxford, England at the age of 58. Florence (who died in 1970) and Michael (who died in the year 2000) are buried with him in Holywell Cemetery, Oxford, next to St. Cross Church where Williams worshipped in the last years of his life. On his headstone, it reads “poet” followed by “Under the Mercy”, which is a phrase that Charles often said.

“Many Dimensions” was released in the year 1931. This novel is a penetrating study of evil within the human heart and centers around a mysterious Stone of quite a few dimensions, by which anybody can move through thought, space, and time. The novel explores the relation between free will and predestination as it portrays the different human responses to redemptive transcendence.

“Descent into Hell” was released in the year 1937. This novel deals with multiple forms of selfishness, and just how the cycle of sin is able to bring about the necessity for redemptive acts. A man becomes so far removed from the real world that he fetishises a woman to the point where his perversion takes on the form of a succubus.

Other characters include: a doppelganger, a playwright that is modelled in a few ways off of the author, and a suicidal Victorian labourer’s ghost.

“All Hallows’ Eve” was released in the year 1945. The book opens between two dead women’s ghosts having a discussion as they wander around London. The novel presents a theology of the arts where an artwork is able to provide a truth the artist was not consciously or originally aware of. The novel explores the true meaning of human suffering as well as empathy and does so by dissolving the barrier between the dead and the living through divine love as well as magic.

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