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.
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 …
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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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!
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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.
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!)
Oops, missed this! 1st & 5th novel, yes, precisely–inaccessible but cool story. War of Heaven is a great romp so I hope people start there!
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