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Re: Which Williams?

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  • Marc Drayer
    I must admit my reading of Charles Williams started with his non- fiction like He Came Down From Heaven. Then came The Figure of Beatrice which I thought
    Message 1 of 8 , Mar 17, 2008
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      I must admit my reading of Charles Williams started with his non-
      fiction like "He Came Down From Heaven." Then came "The Figure of
      Beatrice" which I thought was an excellent commentary on Dante. It's
      only then that I tried his fiction. I must admit I started with "All
      Hallows Eve" which was a mistake, as I couldn't make head or tail of
      it. I've got to re-read that book sometime, as I've familiarized
      myself with his other novels.

      I must admit Williams has a style that many modern Christian writers
      don't have, a depth that none can match. Which is why I don't
      understand why many rave over the novels of Frank Peretti, who I
      think is hopelessly shallow compared with Williams' spiritual
      shockers.

      After reading Williams,I can now understand how That Hideous
      Strength has been called a CW novel written by Lewis. One book by
      Williams I've always wanted to read is his Arthurian poem cycle
      called "Taleissen Through Logres." Any here read that and can
      comment on it?

      Marc



      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Alana Joli Abbott <artiephesus@...>
      wrote:
      >
      > >If you can get beyond the Inklings-assocation expectation (or if
      you never have it in the first place) and >read Williams as a unique
      voice, you're more likely to enjoy his novels, no matter which one
      you start >with.
      >
      > How funny! I read Williams the first time in a course on the
      Inklings, which also included the writings of Barfield. We looked
      more at the thematic similarities (of which I still think there are
      many) rather than stylistic. It wouldn't surprise me if Williams
      actually had more stylistically in common with Dorothy Sayers,
      though I can't, off the top of my head, name two of their books that
      are similar. It may be War in Heaven that struck me as more like a
      mystery novel with esoteric theology all mixed in than as a
      theological novel. :)
      >
      > -Alana #2
      >
      > Alana Joli Abbott, Freelance Writer and Editor
      (http://www.virgilandbeatrice.com)
      > Cowboys and Aliens II:
      http://www.drunkduck.com/Cowboys_and_Aliens_II/
      > Into the Reach and Departure:
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      > Steampunk Musha RPG: http://www.steampunkmusha.com/
      > --
      > Read my short story "The Valley" all of March at
      http://edgeofpropinquity.net. _,_._,___
      >
      >
      >
      _____________________________________________________________________
      _______________
      > Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your home page.
      > http://www.yahoo.com/r/hs
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
    • bernip
      From: Andrew Lazo ... I usually just skip Perelandra all together, since I can t stand it. I much prefer That Hideous Strength. (The
      Message 2 of 8 , Mar 17, 2008
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        From: "Andrew Lazo" <andrewlazo@...>
        >
        > I urge the following as a good way not only to approach Williams, but also
        > to address the troubling problem that affects every Lewis reader I know,
        > namely the sea-change in tone, style, and character between Perelandra and
        > THS. I suggest that in many ways the latter novel resembles nothing so
        > much as L's attempt to write a CW-style "supernatural thriller."
        >
        > Therefore I recommend to all, esp. those reading the Interplanetary
        > Romances for the first time, that they read a Williams between P and THS.

        I usually just skip Perelandra all together, since I can't stand it. I much
        prefer That Hideous Strength. (The green lady is so insipid, she drives me
        crazy. It's like reading about Barbie.)

        Berni
      • David Emerson
        ... The image of Ken & Barbie being Adam & Eve -- ow! Get out of my brain! emerdavid ________________________________________ PeoplePC Online A better way to
        Message 3 of 8 , Mar 17, 2008
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          >From: bernip <bernip@...>
          >
          >I usually just skip Perelandra all together, since I can't stand it. I much
          >prefer That Hideous Strength. (The green lady is so insipid, she drives me
          >crazy. It's like reading about Barbie.)

          The image of Ken & Barbie being Adam & Eve -- ow! Get out of my brain!

          emerdavid

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        • Merlin DeTardo
          ...
          Message 4 of 8 , Mar 17, 2008
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            ---"Marc Drayer" <mdrayer2001@...> wrote:
            << One book by Williams I've always wanted to read is his Arthurian
            poem cycle called "Taliessen Through Logres." Any here read that and
            can comment on it? >>

            I have not. But Tolkien heard some of it read aloud, and of Williams'
            Taliessin, he wrote, among other things:

            "But here, it seems, a voyage of some swift bark
            to that Black Sea (which now is mainly Red)
            has much enlarged him, both in heart and head;
            but still I understand not aught he said!"

            That's from a 107-line poem that was published in _The Inklings_,
            untitled there but more recently identified in Scull and Hammond's
            _Companion & Guide_ by a very long title reminiscent of the full title
            of _Farmer Giles of Ham_ (I would have missed it if not for David
            Bratman's review of the Scull/Hammond volumes last year in _Mythprint_).

            -Merlin DeTardo
          • David Bratman
            ... One of Tolkien s concerns in his later years was to separate his works from Williams s. He really disliked being thrown in a thematic heap with that very
            Message 5 of 8 , Mar 18, 2008
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              At 12:58 PM 3/17/2008 -0500, David Emerson wrote:

              >I find that (at least for me) the major stumbling block to enjoying Charles
              >Williams is the very fact of his association with Lewis and Tolkien. This
              >originally led me to expect that his fiction would be somewhat like theirs.
              >When I found it more to be like Raymond Chandler meets Aleister Crowley, it
              >threw me for a loop.

              One of Tolkien's concerns in his later years was to separate his works from Williams's. He really disliked being thrown in a thematic heap with that very different writer, whose style and attitudes in literature he did not at all endorse. That only happened after critics started potting the Inklings as a unified group.

              We can thank a famous article by John Rateliff for clarifying that this was Tolkien's concern, and not any (non-existent) festering personal jealousy against Williams or any such rot, though belief in such still exists - there was an impervious nimnul spouting such nonsense on the Coinherence list just a few weeks ago.

              At 09:15 PM 3/17/2008 +0000, Marc Drayer wrote:

              >One book by
              >Williams I've always wanted to read is his Arthurian poem cycle
              >called "Taleissen Through Logres." Any here read that and can
              >comment on it?

              Taliessin. And its followup, The Region of the Summer Stars. Not a work one can comment on briefly. Our local group got years of discussion out of those two books by taking one poem at a time and examining it line-by-line. It's really unreadable in any other way than slowly and carefully.
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