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Re: Which Williams?

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  • Merlin DeTardo
    ...
    Message 1 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 2 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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