- Existence: 1886-1945
An editor at Oxford University Press and a popular lecturer on English Literature, Charles Walter Stansby Williams published nearly 40 books, including poetry, plays, novels, literary criticism, biographies, and theological works. He is best known for his spiritual novels, which powerfully portray good and evil, and for The Figure of Beatrice, a study of Dante's Divine Comedy.
Williams began his formal schooling in St. Albans near London and won a scholarship to University College, London, in 1901, but two years later left without taking a degree, unable to afford to continue his education. For several years he worked as a bookroom clerk, then in 1908 took a job with Oxford University Press as a proofreader. Williams had written poetry since adolescence and in 1912 saw his first work published, the sonnet sequence The Silver Stair. He married Florence Conway in 1917, had a son in 1922, and by 1924, due to his extensive knowledge of English literature, was working as an editor for the Press and giving regular lectures on English literature for Adult education classes in London. In the late 1920s he turned his attention to other literary forms, publishing, for example, seven novels between the years 1931 and 1945, of which Descent into Hell(1937) is perhaps the most well-known. Throughout this period, he also continued to write poetry, most notably Taliessin through Logres(1938), the first volume of his Arthurian poetry cycle. In the 1940s he found the academic recognition he had long sought when after giving a series of well-received lectures at Oxford University he was awarded an Honorary Master of Arts in 1943. The same year his scholarly study of Dante and romantic theology, The Figure of Beatrice, was published, a work which sparked Dorothy L. Sayers' interest in Dante. The following year, his novel, All Hallows' Eve, and the second volume of his Taliessin cycle, Region of the Summer Stars, were published, and he began work on The Figure of Arthur, but died on May 15, 1945 before completing it. He was 59 years old.
A member of the Church of England, Williams also knew the value of rationalism, was interested in the supernatural, and had a detailed knowledge of the occult. Yet, as demonstrated in his novels, he clearly understood that such practices were evil and selfish attempts at individual power. Central to his thinking were the theological concepts of co-inherence, the "way of affirmation," and substitution, the death and resurrection of Christ, God's perfect substitution for the sins of humankind, being the center of his life.
Found in 11 Collections and/or Records:
The Anne Ridler Collection contains correspondence and other documents relating to the life and work of Anne Ridler, poetess, playwright, and editor. Materials in the collection are primarily focused on Charles Williams.
This archive includes materials from various events related to the Wade authors, including dramatic performances, conferences, academic courses, exhibitions, etc. More additions may be included in this archive at any time.
This collection comprises of research materials used by Grevel Lindop while writing his biography of Charles Williams titled Charles Williams: The Third Inkling (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015). Lindop provided an inventory of the materials, which is referenced throughout the finding aid to note original file locations.
This archive contains a typescript of The Theology of Romantic Love: A Study in the Writings of Charles Williams (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1962), with penciled notes by C.S. Lewis. It also contains a typescript of an index to the works of Charles Williams sent to Lewis, and a photocopy of a letter by Lewis.
The Raymond Hunt Papers archive contains materials relating to the life and work of Charles Williams, including notebooks of Williams's transcribed lectures, Hunt's personal notes, and a small selection of published materials and correspondence.
This archive contains materials from the Spalding family relating to Charles Williams, particularly in the areas of drama, secondary materials about Williams, and the 1961 BBC radio broadcast of “A Portrait of Charles Williams.”
The Williams Family Papers contain a variety of personal documents, vital records, publications, correspondence, and other materials relating to Charles Williams and his family.
- Williams, Charles, -- Archives. 10
- Lewis, C. S. -- Archives. 2
- Shideler, Mary McDermott -- Archives. 2
- Williams, Charles, -- Correspondence. 2
- Williams, Charles, -- Family. 2
- Williams, Charles, -- Friends and associates. 2
- Williams, Charles, -- Societies, etc. -- Archives. 2
- Authors, English -- 20th century 1
- Authors, English -- 20th century -- Biography. 1
- Authors, English. 1
- Barfield, Owen, -- Archives. 1
- Barfield, Owen, -- Societies, etc. 1
- Barfield, Owen, -- Societies, etc. -- Archives. 1
- Chesterton, G. K. -- Archives. 1
- Chesterton, G. K. -- Societies, etc. 1
- Chesterton, G. K. -- Societies, etc. -- Archives. 1
- Hunt, Raymond -- Correspondence. 1
- Hunt, Raymond -- Notebooks, sketchbooks, etc. 1
- Lang-Sims, Lois -- Correspondence. 1
- Lewis, C. S. -- Influence. 1
- Lewis, C. S. -- Societies, etc. 1
- Lewis, C. S. -- Societies, etc. -- Archives. 1
- MacDonald, George, -- Archives. 1
- MacDonald, George, -- Societies, etc. 1
- MacDonald, George, -- Societies, etc. -- Archives. 1
- Ridler, Anne, -- Archives. 1
- Ridler, Anne, -- Correspondence. 1
- Sayers, Dorothy L. -- Archives. 1
- Sayers, Dorothy L. -- Societies, etc. 1
- Sayers, Dorothy L. -- Societies, etc. -- Archives. 1
- Spalding, Ruth -- Correspondence. 1
- Tolkien, J. R. R. -- Archives. 1
- Tolkien, J. R. R. -- Societies, etc. 1
- Tolkien, J. R. R. -- Societies, etc. -- Archives. 1
- Wheaton College (Ill.). -- Archives. 1
- Williams, Charles, -- Adaptations. 1
- Williams, Charles, -- Drama. 1
- Williams, Charles, -- Friends and associates -- Interviews. 1
- Williams, Charles, -- Indexes. 1
- Williams, Charles, -- Societies, etc. 1
- Williams, Florence Sarah Conway -- Archives. 1
- Williams, Florence Sarah Conway -- Correspondence. 1 ∧ less