Poet Geoffrey Hill recently used Williams’ work as a framework for his final lecture as Professor of Poetry on 5th May 2015. It was entitled “I know thee not, old man, fall to thy prayers” and you can listen to it here.
The Charles Williams Society exists to promote the study and appreciation of the life and writings of Charles Walter Stansby Williams, a poet, novelist, and lay theologian.
Charles Williams is probably best known, to those who have heard of him, as a leading member (albeit for a short time) of the Oxford literary group, the "Inklings", whose chief figures were C. S.Lewis and J. R. R Tolkien. He was, however, a figure of enormous interest in his own right: a prolific author of plays, fantasy novels (strikingly different in kind from those of his friends), poetry, theology, biography and criticism.
The Society meets twice a year, and publishes The Charles Williams Quarterly, which normally includes the papers delivered at the meetings. It also occasionally has short residential conferences, the most recent having taken place on July 4th-6th, 2008. It maintains a lending and reference library.
Become a member of the Charles Williams Society. Membership subscription is £15 a year single, £20 for joint members. Outside UK £20 single, £25 joint. Concessionary rates £7.50. Fees are payable to The Charles Williams Society.
Mark your calendars!
The Society will be meeting on Saturday, June 6th, at the Centre for Mediaeval and Renaissance Studies, Shoe Lane, Oxford. The Society’s AGM will be held at 11:30 am; after lunch there will be a talk by Sørina Higgins, who edited and was responsible for the recent publication of Williams’s early play “The Chapel of the Thorn“.
All are welcome to the latter, whether members of the Society or not.
- 11.30 a.m. Coffee
- 12.00 AGM
- 12.45 – 2.15 p.m. Lunch
- 2.15 p.m. We are delighted that the visiting American scholar, Sorina Higgins, who has recently edited and published Charles Williams’s early dramatic piece, The Chapel of the Thorn, is able to be with us and will give a talk about her work on Williams.
- Apologies for absence
- Minutes of the last AGM
- Secretary’s report
- Treasurer’s report
- Librarian’s report
- Chairman’s report
- (Election of Officers)
- A O B
Charles Williams’ novels are finally available in nicely-edited Kindle editions, at least for interested readers in the US, Canada, and select EU countries. You can get them from Amazon.
Society member Sørina Higgins has just published The Chapel of the Thorn by Charles Williams. This verse drama was previously unpublished, and is now available for the first time.
The Chapel of the Thorn is a two-act verse drama in which Christians and pagans contend for control of the Crown of Thorns. Its themes of spiritual tension, sacred vs. secular power, and religious war are as powerful now as they were when Williams wrote this play just over one hundred years ago. It was published for the first time by Apocryphile Press in November 2014. It is a lively, compelling drama in which hints of Williams’ distinctive themes can be traced.
Some resources for interested readers:
- Purchase the book on Amazon
- View the publisher’s page about the book
- Read a selection from the text of the play
- Watch a talk by Sørina Higgins about finding the manuscript
- Watch a dramatic reading from the book release party.
Just a quick note: our Treasurer Stephen Barber has a guest post over at the ‘Oddest Inkling’ blog, about the Charles Williams book Poetry at Present. Check it out here.
The editor of the forthcoming volume The Inklings and King Arthur seeks experienced, published scholars to serve as peer reviewers on chapters in the fields of Inklings studies, Arthuriana, or 20th-century British Literature, beginning November 1st, 2014. Please send credentials to Sørina Higgins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bruce Bridgewood has an unsigned, unnumbered copy of CW’s book Heroes & Kings, and is offering it for sale. He writes “It is in excellent condition and with its slipcase. It is inscribed on the inside front page. I am looking for £300 or near offer.”
Bruce can be reached at email@example.com.
We recently re-posted the PDF vesrion of ‘A Myth of Bacon’ – Charles Williams’ early unavailable verse play – as it was originally found in The Quarterly. But as of today, we’ve also published a real-text version, which you can read online more conveniently. If you haven’t read it yet, you’re running out of excuses: A Myth of Francis Bacon, by Charles Williams.
In Spring 2007, the Charles Williams Quarterly published A Myth of Bacon, which is unavailable anywhere else. We’re reposting it here, for easier access.
Due to its nature as a verse play, the formatting is rather precise. We’ve created a live-text version which you can read here, but you can also download a PDF as it was originally published in the Quarterly.
In Autumn 2004, the Charles Williams Quarterly included a previously-unpublished poem fragment. We’re reposting it here, but you can also download the issue of the Quarterly here.
The Emperor and The Zodiac
In the throne of the Emperor are the twelve zodiacal images,
each the generation of creation and each its consummation,
twelvefold to the world beyond Byzantium,
the affliction of benediction, since the Adam yearned
to share the knowledge and learned what they could bear,
in that creation, of what was also salvation
in flesh and intellect and soul, the twelve mysteries
that walked also with the shining Logos in Galilee.
The lord Taliessin saw the divine Emperor
set above peace and war, he saw the City
gathering itself in the twelve images in the throne
as later in Logres, scattering itself in stars,
hints of perfection, falling flashes of beatitude,
when he heard the thunder of the Emperor riding above him.
He saw in Logres the form of a man twelve-based,
the form of a woman, the empire reflecting the zodiac.
The workings of the sublime Emperor
attributed to the themes their qualities of cause and perseverance,
as the sacred sun, with all the spiritual planets
attending, wending through the grand zodiacal houses,
sheds in its light the influence of each on the earth:
light beyond the sun as Sarras beyond Carbonek
lying, as God beyond the operative Emperor;
and the myths in Broceliande as the powers dwell in the zodiac.
The body was bared and balanced in Libra;
Justice lay at the bottom, and in Caucasia (here the fragment cuts off)