Item description for All Hallows' Eve by Charles Williams & T. S. Eliot...
Charles Williams had a genius for choosing strange and exciting themes for his novels and making them believable and profoundly suggestive of spiritual truths. All Hallows' Eve is the story of a man and woman whose love was so great it could bridge the gap of death; of evil so terrible as to be unmentionable, of a vision so beautiful it must be true.
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Studio: Regent College Publishing
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8" Width: 5" Height: 0.8" Weight: 0.75 lbs.
Release Date Nov 11, 2002
Publisher Regent College Publishing
ISBN 1573831107 ISBN13 9781573831109
Availability 0 units.
More About Charles Williams & T. S. Eliot
Charles Walter Stansby Williams (1886 -1945) was a British poet, novelist, playwright, theologian, literary critic, and member of the Inklings. Williams was born in London in 1886, the only son of (Richard) Walter Stansby Williams (1848-1929), a journalist and foreign business correspondent (for an importing firm, writing in French and German), who was a 'regular and valued' contributor of verse, stories and articles to many popular magazines, and his wife Mary, a former milliner, of Islington. He continued to work at the OUP in various positions of increasing responsibility until his death in 1945. One of his greatest editorial achievements was the publication of the first major English-language edition of the works of Soren Kierkegaard. Although chiefly remembered as a novelist, Williams also published poetry, works of literary criticism, theology, drama, history, biography, and a voluminous number of book reviews. Some of his best known novels are War in Heaven (1930), Descent into Hell (1937), and All Hallows' Eve (1945). T. S. Eliot, who wrote an introduction for the last of these, described Williams's novels as "supernatural thrillers" because they explore the sacramental intersection of the physical with the spiritual while also examining the ways in which power, even spiritual power, can corrupt as well as sanctify. All of Williams's fantasies, unlike those of J. R. R. Tolkien and most of those of C. S. Lewis, are set in the contemporary world. Williams has been described byColin Manlove as one of the three main writers of "Christian fantasy" in the twentieth century (the other two being C. S. Lewis and T. F. Powys). More recent writers of fantasy novels with contemporary settings, notably Tim Powers, cite Williams as a model and inspiration. NOVELS: 1930: War in Heaven (London: Victor Gollancz) 1930: Many Dimensions (London: Victor Gollancz) 1931: The Place of the Lion (London: Mundanus) 1932: The Greater Trumps (London: Victor Gollancz) 1933: Shadows of Ecstasy (London: Victor Gollancz) 1937: Descent into Hell (London: Faber & Faber) 1945: All Hallows' Eve (London: Faber & Faber) 1970-72: The Noises That Weren't There. Unfinished. First three chapters published in Mythlore 6 (Autumn 1970), 7 (Winter 1971) and 8 (Winter 1972)."
Reviews - What do customers think about All Hallows' Eve?
Don't expect Tolkien or Lewis Oct 14, 2008
I had high expectations of and genuinely looked forward to reading "All Hallows' Eve," knowing that the author, Charles Williams, was one of the famous Inklings, a small literary group that included the great J.R.R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. If you're a fan of Tolkien or Lewis, dial down your expectations for "All Hallows' Eve."
I know I will not win any plaudits or "Recommend this review" for my review, but this is my honest reaction, so take it for what it's worth.
The book, as any one reading this no doubt has already gathered, is about a twilight world inhabited by the souls of the dead, which is beside our world of the living. In fact, the entire first chapter is about one of the characters, a recently-deceased woman named Lester, who just realized she has died and is wandering the twilight version of London. The chapter, as is the entire book, is composed of very very long paragraphs about Lester's "inner life" of meandering thoughts. This alone should be a warning to any potential reader that this book is not reader-friendly.
The rest of the book is about how the twilight world intersects with the world of the living, centering on 7 characters. They are Lester & her friend Evelyn (an unpleasant character), both of the twilight world; Lester's husband, Richard; a friend of Richard, an artist named Jonathan; Jonathan's paramour, Betty; Betty's adopted mother, an imperious Lady Wallingford; and Father Simon, aka Simon Le Clerc (Simon the Clerk). The latter pretends to be a Christian minister, but is really a sorcerer, magus, or magician who practices the dark arts of the occult. Simon wields a hynoptic mesmerizing power over his "congregation," including Lady Wallingford. Simon also means to take over & rule both worlds.
Since I'm an academic, I'm used to reading dense & reader-unfriendly writing. But I found myself unable to get through this book. I do not care for Charles Williams' writing (the long paragraphs & the focus on a character's interior life). I found the main characters to be unappealing & unengaging; I could not even find ONE character whom I like. One of the reviewers here lauded the book on its use of & descriptions of two paintings by Jonathan. While I concur, that only made me compare "All Hallows' Eve" to Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray." Alas, the comparison is not to Charles Williams' favor.
Very difficult read Jul 24, 2008
I had heard so much hype about this supposedly fantastic author and was hugely disappointed. I had to force myself to finish the book, unnecessarily wordy, taking away from the story line or moral message he was trying to get across. This made what could have been an interesting story a very boring story. It was just steeped w/ very heavy spiritual symbolism that you'd have to be Dante to figure out. I was embarrassed that I had recommended it for our Halloween pick for my book club. Of what use is a spiritual message if you can't even bring yourself to read it?
Amazing Nov 30, 2007
This is one of the greatest novels I've ever been forced to read in school. I recommend to all of my friends after having read it in my upper-level undergraduate Literature class. Read this book!
The subtle, christian forerunner to the Twilight Zone? Sep 3, 2007
This is a ghost story, but not a horror story. You may get chills reading it, but not always from "the creeps". On the other hand, you may finish it wondering just what the heck you just read. I submit to you All Hallows' Eve-- definitely not for everybody.
All Hallows' Eve is Charles Williams' last novel, written and set in WW2 England. It starts shortly after the tragic deaths of two women friends, Evalyn and Lester, in a bizarre collision, and neither is aware at first that they have died. They wander a weirdly deserted London separately for a brief time before meeting up, which gives the author an opportunity to focus on Lester's inner spiritual journey as she slowly confronts some unattractive truths about herself and her important relationships with her husband and her friends. In a separate but intersecting storyarc, Lester's surviving husband and his artist friend cross paths with a popular cult leader, Simon Le Clerc. This disturbing figure has a hidden past that is revealed only to us, the readers, as the plot unfolds. He is shaping up to be something not unlike an antichrist of sorts who is conducting covert, occultic experiments on the artist's love interest, Betty Wallingford, who is the daughter of one of Le Clerc's most devoted followers.
Williams makes use of Betty's nighttime passages to scratch the surface of an alternate universe which Evelyn, Lester and (presumably) other newly-deceased inhabit. It is simply described as the City, and although it bears a surface resemblance to London, it is more of an infrastructure to London, or perhaps the Platonic Ideal of London...possibly something more. Many things in this realm tantalize us with glimpses of hidden spiritual truths, and time itself seems to have no linear requirement; past, present and future flashbacks occur without regard to conventional order. I was left with the sense that I would have liked to discover more about this City, and as this is my first Williams novel, who knows..he may indeed refer to it in his other stories.
I'm not sure what sort of person would be best prepared to read this final Charles Williams novel. The author (an Anglican, or so I've read) clearly gives his audience much credit, as he allows us to draw our own conclusions about either the allegorical or the literal truths he dallies with along the storyline; he never force-feeds or "preaches". Somebody moderately educated in various religious history and/or theology would recognize a lot of the hints and references Williams makes along the way to telling his story. I wouldn't say that you must be a Christian to appreciate it, but it might help. On the other hand, I would only recommend this book to a mature Christian who has some direct study of the bible under his belt and yet a non-legalistic attitude toward their christian fiction. Certainly the reader would benefit from an ability to appreciate mysticism.
All Hallows' Eve was recommended to me by A Reader's Delight, which appeals to readers who crave rare literary treasures from various genres. Williams' writing style is rich and many-layered, so that I may have to read All Hallows' Eve several times to extract everything I should from it in time. Take that under advisement, and if the shoe fits, do try. -Andrea, aka Merribelle
All about redemption. Jul 17, 2007
A decent "purgatorial" novel about the redemption of a soul and what it takes. I often found myself thinking of Lewis's space trilogy during the read especially the last volume. I'd put this on a reading list of books about the theology of purgation; The Divine Comedy, The Great Divorce, etc. At times I found Williams writing style a bit thick but I suspect that was intentional. I particularly enjoyed what seemed to be a slam on logical positivism and literary post-modernism in the character of the clerk. Some classify this as horror and perhaps it is but it wasn't really scary to me. In fact, the clerk just winds up looking like a boob. Maybe the scariest thing about it is the choice one of the characters makes for hell.