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Charles Williams: The Third Inkling (Paperback)
  • Charles Williams: The Third Inkling (Paperback)
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Charles Williams: The Third Inkling (Paperback)

(author)
£12.99
Paperback 528 Pages / Published: 26/10/2017
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This is the first full biography of Charles Williams (1886-1945), an extraordinary and controversial figure who was a central member of the Inklings-the group of Oxford writers that included C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Charles Williams-novelist, poet, theologian, magician and guru-was the strangest, most multi-talented, and most controversial member of the group. He was a pioneering fantasy writer, who still has a cult following. C.S. Lewis thought his poems on King Arthur and the Holy Grail were among the best poetry of the twentieth century for 'the soaring and gorgeous novelty of their technique, and their profound wisdom'. But Williams was full of contradictions. An influential theologian, Williams was also deeply involved in the occult, experimenting extensively with magic, practising erotically-tinged rituals, and acquiring a following of devoted disciples. Membership of the Inklings, whom he joined at the outbreak of the Second World War, was only the final phase in a remarkable career. From a poor background in working-class London, Charles Williams rose to become an influential publisher, a successful dramatist, and an innovative literary critic. His friends and admirers included T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, Dylan Thomas, and the young Philip Larkin. A charismatic personality, he held left-wing political views, and believed that the Christian churches had dangerously undervalued sexuality. To redress the balance, he developed a 'Romantic Theology', aiming at an approach to God through sexual love. He became the most admired lecturer in wartime Oxford, influencing a generation of young writers before dying suddenly at the height of his powers. This biography draws on a wealth of documents, letters and private papers, many never before opened to researchers, and on more than twenty interviews with people who knew Williams. It vividly recreates the bizarre and dramatic life of this strange, uneasy genius, of whom Eliot wrote, 'For him there was no frontier between the material and the spiritual world.'

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198806431
Number of pages: 528
Weight: 716 g
Dimensions: 233 x 169 x 39 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
In Charles Williams: The Third Inkling, Grevel Lindop has written a page-turner. He proves himself a master of the biographical narrative. He knows how to end chapters and sections of chapters with cliffhangers. He liberally employs the ironic slant, and he has an eye for visuals. Lindop's preface, a model of balanced prose, sets the volume's tone. * Philip Irving Mitchell, Religion and the Arts *
exemplary, and very thought-provoking * Philip Hensher, Books of the Year 2015, The Spectator *
This solid and scholarly biography explores the byways of literary history with much verve and energy ... Lindop has provided a fascinating account * Philip Hensher, Spectator *
Lindop has added significantly to our knowledge of the Third Man in the Inklings and deftly filled in some major blank areas in our standard map of literary modernism. * Kevin Jackson, Literary Review *
excellent biography * London Review of Books *
[a] fine, thoroughly researched book. * Tablet *
thorough biography * Journey *
fascinating reading ... meticulous study ... This biography puts Williams back in the picture * Andy Ffrench, Oxford Times *
a fascinating, and even astonishing biography * Theology *
Grevel Lindop's biography of Charles Williams is, in almost every way, all that one would want in such a study: comprehensive, judicious, sympathetic, but also properly surprised by its subject, for good and ill. * Rowan Williams, Journal of Inkling Studies *
His prose style has benefitted from long years of listening to the musicality of language: his sentences are clear and competent, his narrative skill evident, his storytelling ability considerable. It is this last quality, in combination with his meticulous scholarship, that makes The Third Inkling masterful. * Sorina Higgins, Journal of Inkling Studies *
Lindop's exhaustive research and clarity of presentation make this an indispensable volume for anyone who wishes to understand Williams and come to terms with his writing and influence. No future study of Williams will be adequate without drawing on this study; Lindop deserves much praise for bringing to completion such a massive endeavour. * Holly Ordway, Journal of Inkling Studies *
Lindop's narrative, packed with incident and parcelled into satisfying arcs, is exemplary * Oxford Today *
Grevel Lindop has written a ground-breaking life, at once scholarly and readable, which reveals Williams in all his fascination ... Lindop has done a real service in showing not only why his writing had such an appeal for Tolkein, Lewis, and Eliot, but how it can still jolt us into deeper reflection today. * The Rt Revd Lord Harries, Church Times *
the definitive biography ... .a brilliant introduction to a brilliant, yet very troubled and troubling, man * Evangelical Times *
an authoritative, and extremely readable, biography. * Sydney Morning Herald *
The Third Inkling is a very readable book which wears its meticulous research lightly - and that's no mean feat. It raises some important and troubling questions. * A Writer's Life *
well-written biography * Notre Dame magazine *
wonderful biography * Network Review *
As a work of biographical scholarship, then, The Third Inkling leaves nothing to be desired. * The Oddest Inkling *
a thorough, profound, and sympathetic study * A.N Wilson, First Things *
an excellent biography, taking its place as the premier resource on Williams * The Notion Club Papers *

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