‘The Chapel of the Thorn’ by Charles Williams {BookTalk}

As someone who got to see the manuscript of The Chapel of the Thorn: A Dramatic Poem but not to read it, I was thrilled with Sørina Higgins’ transcription and introduction of this early Charles Williams poems. I wasn’t surprised when it was nominated for a Mythopoeic Award. James at the Tolkienist blog has a review that is worth reading.

A Tolkienist's Perspective

BookTalk is a new series of posts, where I discuss non-Tolkien books within concise and honest reviews. However, any connections with with Tolkien will be made clear as you read  on …


The Chapel of the Thorn (cover).png

Having focused my reading habits on the works of Tolkien and Lewis for years now, not to mention acquiring a book or two about the Inklings, I thought it was the right time to dip into some of the works by other members of the literary group.

And what better way  to do this than to start with the somewhat obscure figure of Charles Williams himself?

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About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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9 Responses to ‘The Chapel of the Thorn’ by Charles Williams {BookTalk}

  1. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention! (And good to make the acquaintance of another interesting-looking Inklings blog in this way!)

    I expect a lot of us first read one of Williams’s novels, but James convincingly suggests here that The Chapel of the Thorn is a good and likely place to start, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • For me it was The Place of the Lion, but Chapel of the Thorn wasn’t that far after. I got to read it in draft form, prepping for publication. It is far more stable than the Arthurian poetry, but less approachable than, say, War in Heaven.


      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        Yes, well said! It’s more like the first novel Williams wrote – except we don’t know exactly how much that was revised when it was eventually published as Shadows of Ecstasy – but I think The Chapel is more approachable than that first-and-fifth novel, too. It’s curious and interesting that that novel is the first big imaginative work that is a whole (rather than a collection of shorter poems), after The Chapel (and about 13 years after – and just after Williams was working on a revision of The Chapel)! It is fascinating that there is such a great step in approachability from the first novel (even in its revised form as Shadows of Ecstasy) to the second novel, War in Heaven (which was the first published).

        (Hope I have not said all that note of agreement in too complicated and confusing a way!)


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