The Charles Williams Society

Welcome!

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 met twice a year, and published The Charles Williams Quarterly, which normally included the papers delivered at the meetings. It also occasionally had short residential conferences, the most recent having taken place on July 4th-6th, 2008. It maintains a lending and reference library.

Inklings on Twitter

From Sørina Higgins’ Oddest Inkling blog, this announcement: a few Inklings bloggers will be staging a chat on twitter on March 15, at 8pm US Eastern time.  Here’s the writeup:

Many members of the Inklings–C. S. Lewis, Warnie Lewis, Hugo Dyson, J. R. R. Tolkien, Neville Coghill, and others–were wont to go on very long walks through the countryside, days and days at a time, staying at inns, eating and drinking at pubs, talking endlessly about theology, literature, and whatever else took their fancy.

On March 15th, at 8:00 pm EST, the ghosts of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, Owen Barfield, and Hugo Dyson are going to come out of their graves, grab smartphones, go for a long walk in an imagined landscape, and tweet all about what they see, say, and do.You should join us!

So head over to twitter at that time and check out the hashtag #InkWalk. Be sure to follow these revivified Inklings for intelligent twittering at any time:
C. S. Lewis: @PilgrimInNarnia
J. R. R. Tolkien: @TolkienElfland
Charles Williams: @OddestInkling
Owen Barfield: @BarfieldDiction
Hugo Dyson: @hugo_dyson

Five intrepid bloggers will be tweeting quotes and paraphrases from the Inklings’ works, along with a little creative license, as they go “walking” together and talking about their favorite topics. Do join us on the Ides of March!

Sørina did a solo version of this over Christmas, and it was hilarious.

Call for Papers: Arts + the Inklings

Do you have a paper about Arts & the Inklings burning a hole in your pocket?  Good news!

Call for Papers: Arts + The Inklings, September 28-30, 2016

The 2016 Verge Conference at the School of the Arts, Media + Culture

Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia, Canada

This interdisciplinary arts conference invites presentations on topics relating to and stimulated by the work of the group of Oxford authors known as The Inklings—including C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams, and J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as friends such as Dorothy L. Sayers, and their literary mentors, earlier writers such as George MacDonald and G.K. Chesterton.

 We invite presentations on such topics as…

·       The Inklings authors’ contributions to the arts
·       Translating their work into other media–film, theatre, music, visual art; the relationship between faith and story
·       The relationship between faith and story
·       The Inklings’ legacy as culture critics
·       The role of friendship and mentorship in their/our/others’ artistic creativity
·       and other topics related to the theme

 Keynote speaker

·       Dr. Michael Ward
Senior Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford
Author of Planet Narnia (Oxford University Press, 2008).

This conference welcomes submissions from any discipline that explore the topic under consideration. Proposal deadline is May 15, 2016. For more conference information visit twu.ca/vergeconference

Hello Lewis Fans!

You might have seen Charles Williams featured on the most recent episodes of iTV’s show ‘Lewis’!

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If you’re just hearing about Charles Williams for the first time, or just looking to find out more about this strange author – welcome!  Wiliams’ novels – often called ‘Supernatural Thrillers’ are great places to start with his work.

Here at the society’s site, you can find a list of all his work that’s in print, or feel free to jump straight to one of the novels themselves:

Society member Grevel Lindop has also just published a new biography of Williams, called Charles Williams: The Third Inkling.

New audiobook: Et in Sempiternum Pereant

Here’s a special treat – Ulf Bjorklund, a professional voice actor – has recorded Williams’ short ghost story ‘Et in Sempiternum Pereant’, and it sharing it with us! You can listen below.

Mr. Bjorklund has recorded lots of other audio as well: find his work on amazon.com and audible

Geoffrey Hill on Charles Williams

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. 

Annual General Meeting 2015 and Lecture

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.

 Agenda

  1. Apologies for absence
  2. Minutes of the last AGM
  3. Secretary’s report
  4. Treasurer’s report
  5. Librarian’s report
  6. Chairman’s report
  7. (Election of Officers)
  8. A O B

 

New eBooks Available!

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.

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The Chapel of the Thorn

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:

Congratulations, Sørina!

Stephen Barber’s guest post

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.

Call for Peer Reviewers: The Inklings and King Arthur

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 inklings.arthur@gmail.com.