So You've Always Wanted to Read Charles Williams: An Introduction to His Prose, Plays, and Poetry

This panel will give readers a few keys to unlock the complex and fascinating writings of Lewis’s friend and fellow Inkling Charles Williams. We will suggest some starting points: War in Heaven as an introduction to his novels; the three plays Thomas Cranmer of Canterbury, The House by the Stable, and Grab and Grace, as well as the novel Descent into Hell, in which the poet/playwright Stanhope is a major character, as a good beginning for his plays; and the poem “Bors to Elayne: On the King’s Coins,” as well as Lewis’s commentary on Williams’ Arthurian legendarium in Arthurian Torso, as an opening into the “clotted glory” of his poetry. We will also touch on the importance of co-inherence and exchange to Williams’ theology, his vivid portrayals of the supernatural breaking into the everyday, and the gorgeous but difficult imagery that sometimes discourages beginning Williams readers.