Charles Williams: The Most Interesting Theologian in the World

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9 Responses to Charles Williams: The Most Interesting Theologian in the World

  1. Fr Aidan Kimel says:

    The novels of Charles Williams are not for everyone; but they are unique. They are unlike any other novels that I know. They have been described as “supernatural thrillers”, yet that is probably not the right way to describe them. When read sympathetically, in the proper spirit, they become iconic to the world of the spirit.

    If you have never read Williams before, I would recommend The Greater Trumps as a good place to begin. My favorite is Descent into Hell, which is a terrifying look at what damnation truly is. You can also purchase the omnibus collection of his novels.

    As I said, they are unique.

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    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      Actually, the more I think about it, maybe the Greater Trumps is not the best introduction to Williams’s fiction. I’m not sure which one is, though.

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      • Matthew Petersen says:

        I like Descent into Hell best–because of Stanhope, and Pauline Anstruther.

        “The Magus Zoroaster, my dead child, Met his own image walking in the garden. That apparition, sole of men, he saw.”

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  2. Jim Tilson says:

    I’m long overdue for rereading these. I first read them my senior year of college over 20 years ago, and keep coming back to them every few years. Descent into Hell was the first one I read. I consumed the rest within the next month or so. Many Dimensions is the one I find I keep coming back to frequently; I think it’s because of Chloe’s humility and the realization that we really wouldn’t want the things we pray for thoughtlessly.

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  3. Father Gregory says:

    So far I have only read “The place of the Lion” and once the story took off I was unable to put the book down until I had read the whole thing. I am going to be back for more … Can’t put my finger on it, but Williams positively moves me in a way Lewis and Tolkien do not. No doubt Lewis and Tolkien are the better story tellers, but Williams is almost a spiritual director in the story he tells. Not sure how to express it.

    Thanks for the reminder. I need to start my next Williams book …

    Fr. Gregory Wassen

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  4. Here is my “Readers’ Guide for Beginners” over on my Charles-Williams-only site, “The Oddest Inkling”: http://theoddestinkling.mymiddleearth.com/2013/07/03/a-readers-guide-for-beginners/. I hope you find it helpful. Also, I’m just starting a series today on “The Place of the Lion.” Do check it out!

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  5. skholiast says:

    The most interesting theologian, indeed. Introduction to Romantic Theology, He Came Down from Heaven, and Descent of the Dove are indispensible — an surprising synthesis of the “popular” and the very, very Deep.

    As for the novels — I started with Shadows of Ecstasy, which was absolutely right for me, but I’m not typical. I think either Many Dimensions or Descent into Hell is the place to start.

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