Though remembered as a fantasy novelist, Charles Williams also wrote many works of literary criticism, poetry, drama, theology, and history. He became good friends with C.S. Lewis in 1936, when mutual admiration for each other’s work incited both men to write to the other in praise. Though a baptized Anglican, Williams held a lifelong fascination with mysticism and esotericism. When he was a young man he was a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, as were Arthur Edward Waite and Aleister Crowley. Williams joined Waite when the latter eventually formed The Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, a brotherhood more inline with orthodox Christian mystical practices. By the time that Williams met Lewis and the other Inklings he was active in mainstream Anglican Christianity.
The Novels of Charles William by Thomas Howard
Whether you read it in whole or part, before or alongside the novels of Charles Williams, this work by Thomas Howard is an invaluable resource for unlocking the mystery and wonder of William’s supernatural fiction.
Charles Williams: Alchemy and Integration by Gavin Ashenden
Gavin Ashenden explores the esoteric worldview and culture that influenced William’s life, thought, and writings. Ashenden pays special note to Williams relationship with “Celia,” a character in Heaven’s War who factored into William’s life and writing.
This well-researched biography of Williams, anticipated to be a groundbreaking work in the field of Inklings studies, is due out from Oxford University Press sometime in 2014/2015.
Find it: Soon!
The Theology of Romantic Love: A Study in the Writings of Charles Williams by Mary McDermott Shideler
Drafted with the input of C.S. Lewis, this work remains the foundational account of the key theological ideas and beliefs of Williams and their place in his life and writings.
The Rhetoric of Vision: Essays on Charles Williams, edited by Charles A. Huttar and Peter J. Schakel
This varied collection of nineteen essays has something to offer everyone from the beginning Williams enthusiast to the experienced Williams researcher. Choose from selections on his fiction, poetry, and drama, that cover his thought, style, influences, and conventions.
Christian Mythmakers: C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, J.R. Tolkien, George MacDonald, G.K. Chesterton, Charles Williams, Dante Alighieri, John Bunyan, Walter Wangerin, Robert Siegel, and Hannah Hurnard by Rolland Hein
This work’s chapter on Charles Williams details the nature of his professional and personal relationship with J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis
“The Charles Williams Society exists to promote the study and appreciation of the life and writings of Charles Walter Stansby Williams, a poet, novelist, and lay theologian.” (Source: Main Page)
Walter Hooper, ‘Williams, Charles Walter Stansby (1886–1945)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2006 [http://www.oxforddnb.com.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/view/article/36918, accessed 14 April 2014]
Book covers from Goodreads.com
Image of Charles Williams from Wikipedia