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‘I love you, defiant witch!’

Michael Newton: Charles Williams, 8 September 2016

Charles WilliamsThe Third Inkling 
by Grevel Lindop.
Oxford, 493 pp., £25, October 2015, 978 0 19 928415 3
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... encounter, full of joy Unscheduled on the Giesen Plan, With, here, an addict of Tolkien, There, a Charles Williams fan.If Auden were on the circuit now, he’d still find plenty of Tolkien addicts, but he’d go a long way before stumbling on a Charles Williams fan. ...

Full of Glory

John Mullan: The Inklings, 19 November 2015

The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings 
by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski.
Farrar, Straus, 644 pp., £11.20, June 2015, 978 0 374 15409 7
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... this saga. The cover of The Fellowship flourishes the names of two of them – Owen Barfield and Charles Williams – alongside those of Tolkien and Lewis. Barfield had become friends with Lewis when they were undergraduates, and was later a frequent companion on his walking tours of rural England and his favourite antagonist in debates. Barfield’s ...

Floating Islands

J.I.M. Stewart, 21 October 1982

Of This and Other Worlds 
by C.S. Lewis, edited by Walter Hooper.
Collins, 192 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 00 215608 3
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George Orwell: A Personal Memoir 
by T.R. Fyvel.
Weidenfeld, 221 pp., £9.95, September 1982, 0 297 78012 3
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... Eight-Four and The Lord of the Rings. Two pieces, an admirable discussion of the novels of Charles Williams and a slightly odd ‘Panegyric for Dorothy L. Sayers’, are printed for the first time. Near the conclusion of the essay on Williams, he expresses himself as ‘horribly afraid’ that he may have given ...

Donald’s Duck

John Sturrock, 22 August 1996

Bradman 
by Charles Williams.
Little, Brown, 336 pp., £20, August 1996, 0 316 88097 3
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... on a transcendent scale: just how transcendent you can see by looking at one of the tables in Charles Williams’s book, which shows Bradman, with his lifetime Test average of 99.94, almost forty runs an innings ahead of any other player, the run-rich Lara included. Not that a single hit for four would have done for me that day; I wanted to sit ...

Trounced

C.H. Sisson, 22 February 1990

C.S. Lewis: A Biography 
by A.N. Wilson.
Collins, 334 pp., £15, February 1990, 0 00 215137 5
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... in the collection of memorabilia of such Christian writers as George MacDonald, T.S. Eliot, Charles Williams and Tolkien. It is evidence of some sort of fame. A.N. Wilson sees ‘unmistakable and remarkable evidence of something like sanctification which occurred in him towards the end of his days’, but that I do not pretend to be able to ...

With Slip and Slapdash

Frank Kermode: Auden’s Prose, 7 February 2008

TheComplete Works of W.H. Auden. Vol. III: Prose, 1949-55 
edited by Edward Mendelson.
Princeton, 779 pp., £29.95, December 2007, 978 0 691 13326 3
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... Pauline epigraph: ‘I had not known sin, but by the law.’ He always had gurus – Gerald Heard, Charles Williams, Georg Groddeck, Homer Lane. Some quietly faded away, but with a few he enjoyed an enduring sympathy: Forster and Virginia Woolf, for instance, and Eliot, with the respect due to the publisher of his first book of poems, but staying well ...

Mysteries of Kings Cross

Iain Sinclair, 5 October 1995

Vale Royal 
by Aidan Dun.
Goldmark, 130 pp., £22.50, July 1995
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... Royal remains close in spirit to other difficult to categorise, difficult to explicate, poems: Charles Williams’s The Region of the Summer Stars and David Jones’s The Anathemata. Dun’s expository notes form an independent unit, a parallel text. His theme, a contemporary reworking of the Matter of Britain, is an active project, rather than an ...

Ask Anyone in Canada

Neal Ascherson: Max Beaverbrook’s Mediations, 24 October 2019

Max Beaverbrook: Not Quite a Gentleman 
by Charles Williams.
Biteback, 566 pp., £25, June 2019, 978 1 84954 746 8
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... the editor managed to suppress it (‘the veriest twaddle’). This snapshot – one of many in Charles Williams’s biography – reveals two factors in Beaverbrook’s success. The first is that posh English society was no match for him. He was ‘vulgar’, but there was a charm in his self-promotion which made languid ladies and gentlemen want to ...

Broken Knowledge

Frank Kermode, 4 August 1983

The Oxford Book of Aphorisms 
edited by John Gross.
Oxford, 383 pp., £9.50, March 1983, 0 19 214111 2
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The Travellers’ Dictionary of Quotation: Who said what about where? 
edited by Peter Yapp.
Routledge, 1022 pp., £24.95, April 1983, 0 7100 0992 5
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... that small degree of overlap between Auden and Gross. Auden fancies aphorists like Simone Weil and Charles Williams, neither to be found in Gross, and Gross has his pets – Sherrington, for instance, and Thomas Szasz, unknown to Auden. The earlier book has a useful thematic index, Gross’s has not. Gross is more specific about his sources. Both classify ...

Pioneers

Christopher Reid, 3 September 1981

Some Americans: A Personal Record 
by Charles Tomlinson.
California, 134 pp., £6.50, June 1981, 0 520 04037 6
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... It is strange,’ Charles Tomlinson writes, ‘to have met the innovators of one’s time only when age had overtaken them.’ The innovators to whom he refers are those American poets – Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams and others – whose work and moral example have been of importance to his own growth as a writer ...

Phantom Jacks

John Bayley, 5 January 1989

Jack: C.S. Lewis and His Times 
by George Sayer.
Macmillan, 278 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 0 333 43362 9
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J.B. Priestley 
by Vincent Brome.
Hamish Hamilton, 512 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 9780241125601
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Eddy: The Life of Edward Sackville-West 
by Michael De-la-Noy.
Bodley Head, 341 pp., £16, October 1988, 0 370 31164 7
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... in an incongruous inner ring of like-minded persons, including Tolkien, a Catholic convert, and Charles Williams, a Cockney original with a decidedly creepy inner life, and an extraordinary talent for updating the mystico-religious poetic attitudes of the Fin-de-Siècle. Thus was born the Inklings, an unexclusive but very characteristic group of ...

At the Pool

Inigo Thomas, 21 June 2018

... Hearst built at his Californian palace, which is filled with water pumped up from the Pacific. Charles Sprawson describes it in his history of swimming, Haunts of the Black Masseur: The Swimmer as Hero: The brilliant dark blue tiles studded with gold stars create the illusion of vast and mysterious depths and transform the interior at night into an ...

Chicory and Daisies

Stephanie Burt: William Carlos Williams, 7 March 2002

Collected Poems: Volume I 
by William Carlos Williams, edited by A. Walton Litz and Christopher MacGowan.
Carcanet, 579 pp., £12.95, December 2000, 1 85754 522 2
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Collected Poems: Volume II 
by William Carlos Williams, edited by A. Walton Litz and Christopher MacGowan.
Carcanet, 553 pp., £12.95, December 2000, 1 85754 523 0
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... painters have paid too much attention to the ism and not enough to the painting,’ William Carlos Williams wrote in 1928. Something similar could be said about Williams’s own critics: since his death in 1963, attention to his theories and to his life has been getting in the way of his poems. With ...

I just let him have his beer

Christopher Tayler: John Williams Made it Work, 19 December 2019

The Man who Wrote the Perfect Novel: John Williams, ‘Stoner’ and the Writing Life 
by Charles Shields.
Texas, 305 pp., £23.99, October 2018, 978 1 4773 1736 5
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Nothing but the Night 
by John Williams.
NYRB, 144 pp., $14.95, February 2019, 978 1 68137 307 2
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... the appearance of Thomas Pynchon’s first book and the Beatles’ second long-player, John Williams, a professor at the University of Denver, sent his agent in New York a draft of his latest novel, which detailed the unhappy marriage, undistinguished career and early death from cancer of an imagined professor at the University of Missouri a generation ...

Regrets

Michael Wood, 17 December 1992

The Art of Cinema 
by Jean Cocteau, André Bernard and Claude Gauteur, translated by Robin Buss.
Marion Boyars, 224 pp., £19.95, May 1992, 0 7145 2947 8
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Jean Renoir: A Life in Pictures 
by Célia Bertin, translated by Mireille Muellner and Leonard Muellner.
Johns Hopkins, 403 pp., £20.50, August 1991, 0 8018 4184 4
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Jean Renoir: Projections of Paradise 
by Ronald Bergan.
Bloomsbury, 378 pp., £25, October 1992, 0 7475 0837 2
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Malle on Malle 
edited by Philip French.
Faber, 236 pp., £14.99, January 1993, 0 571 16237 1
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Republic of Images: A History of French Film-Making 
by Alan Williams.
Harvard, 458 pp., £39.95, April 1992, 0 674 76267 3
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... not that I consciously went back to my childhood; my childhood came back to me.’ Alan Williams’s Republic of Images will become a standard work on the French cinema, and deservedly so. It is thorough, and intelligent, and its generalisations have clearly been hesitated over, thought about. It’s called a history of film-making, but as ...

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