Charles Williams

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Charles Williams (1886-1945) was from 1908 a staff editor at the Oxford University Press, at the London offices until 1939 and afterwards, due to World War II evacuations, at Oxford. In that capacity, he is best known for publishing the first major English-language edition of the works of Soren Kierkegaard.

But Williams is better remembered as a writer, of poetry, novels, drama, criticism, and biographies. His best known works are his extremely dense and complex Arthurian poetry (in two books, Taliessin through Logres and The Region of the Summer Stars), and his seven novels of Christian mysticism, in which intense spiritual matters infuse their way into the modern world. Yet they are not horror, but fantasy. Modern writers of fantasy with contemporary settings, notably Tim Powers, cite Williams as a model and inspiration.

Williams gathered many followers and disciples during his lifetime. He was for a period a member of an offshoot of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. During his time in Oxford, he belonged to a purely literary group, The Inklings.

Williams's novels are:

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