On Charles Williams

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[Page 4] ON CHARLES WILLIAMS by Glen GoodKnight {Title Art: The script for the title art is special only in the stylization of the 'w' and the coloring of the text. "ON" is purple, "CHARLES" is green, "Williams" is red, and "by Glen GoodKnight is blue.} I <the first letter is illuminated with green text and a curly red outline> just finished doing a 20-page research paper on Lewis, Tolkien, and Williams during the period 1939-1945, when all three were together in Oxford. Charles Williams is in some respects the most profound of the three. He genuinely deserves further investigation by all of us. Lewis felt Williams would have been more comfortable in a more chivalrous age, with his almost ritualistic and elaborate courtesy. But this courtesy was never stiff; his manners implied a complete _offer_ of intimacy without the slightest _imposition_ of intimacy. Williams acted as a catalyst on the Inklings--a discussion group to which they all belonged. As Lewis said of Williams when on the rare occaisions he did not turn up: "it then became clear that some principle of liveliness and cohesion had been withdrawn from the whole party: lacking him, we did not completely posess one another." T.S. Eliot said of him: "I can think of no writer who was more wholly the same man in his life and his writings." Williams had a very rich imagination, as rich as Tolkien's, but where Tolkien was almost totally withdrawn from his work, Williams enters in almost joyfully. He is metaphysical and romantic--qualities almost entirely lacking in Tolkien. C.S. Lewis stands in the middle in this matter. It is interesting that all these men wrote on the use and abuse of tremendous _power_. Our own chaotic century certainly influenced them in this. We see this in Tolkien's _Lord of the Rings_, Lewis' _That Hideous Strength_, and Williams' _All Hallows' Eve_. But in spite of the theme of abused power, they are all optomists @optimists@. They are thumbs-up men in a predominately thumbs-down century; this ultimately resulted from their deep and genuine religious faith.

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