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Collected Plays [Paperback]

By Charles Williams (Author)
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Item description for Collected Plays by Charles Williams...

Collected Plays Charles Williams Introduction by John Heath-Stubbs 416 pp. / 5 x 8 / Trade Paper / $29.95 Regent ISBN 1-57383-366-5 Reprint of Oxford University Press edition, 1963 Royalties: 150.00 prepaid to Higham Need cover This volume contains the complete dramatic works of Charles Williams. Williams' plays can be enjoyed at more than one level. Though what they have in common is the author's gift for poetic expression, they also demonstrate his range. Complex theology, knockabout farce, and historical tragedy are all represented here. The plays are simple enough for amateur performances but subtle enough to give scope for many interpretations. Thomas Cranmer of Canterbury Judgement at Chelmsford * Seed of Adam The Death of Good Fortune The House by the Stable Grab and Grace or It's the Second Step The House of the Octopus Terror of Light The Three Temptations Charles Williams-novelist, poet, critic, dramatist and biographer-died in his native England in May, 1945. He had a lively and devoted following there and achieved a considerable reputation as a lecturer on the faculty of Oxford University. T. S. Eliot, Dorothy Sayers and C. S. Lewis were among his distinguished friends and literary sponsors. He was also a member of the Inklings, a group of Christian writers that included J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Regent College Publishing
Pages   416
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8" Width: 5" Height: 0.93"
Weight:   0.99 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 20, 2006
Publisher   Regent College Publishing
ISBN  1573833665  
ISBN13  9781573833660  

Availability  69 units.
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More About Charles Williams

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! 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)."

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Drama > Anthologies
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Drama > Religious & Liturgical

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Reviews - What do customers think about Collected Plays?

The Poise of Everlasting Joys  May 7, 2007
For Charles Williams Words are everything. Why? We are not God and we don't live in heaven, so Words are the things we must stand by. A Word is much more than an utterance said, or written. It is, for Williams, an act of adoration--or blasphemy. It is the stuff that fills up life and makes it human. Or not. That, I think, is the key to Williams plays. Words do not so such signify as exist. They are bricks. Word upon Word, they build up patterns of being, real or an illusion, something or nothing, an arrangement of truth or lies, fashioned by Words uttered--and lived. God's or yours.
Skeleton Key  Apr 25, 2006
How great that this book is back in print. Now I can quote my favorite Charles Williams line, spoken by the skeleton in one of these plays: "The price of heaven, hell or earth is the same: always a broken heart, sometimes a broken neck." Lines like that are why we keep reading.

Mention Charles Williams' plays, and immediately someone comes up with more objections than even to his novels. Let's admit the plays are flawed so the critics will depart satisfied and we can lie back and read them. That indefineable, maddening something quietly lurking at the corners of the novels rages through the plays.

T.S. Eliot, in the view of many, took language as far as it can go in "The Wasteland" and "Four Quartets". Charles Williams doesn't make the journey; he just begins on the other side. The skeleton and other characters stumble dazed as if through the debris of bombed-out London, scavenging through the detrius of words. CW lived outside of his own time, which is why he has become so relevant in ours. For the form of that age was already passing away. The long, dark night of modernism over and done, the pre-modern and post-modern reach and touch one another, as blinking in the dawn we stumble from the rubble.
finally!  Mar 23, 2006
I can't say how pleased I am to discover this back in print (I have a rather expensive used copy). I am a huge fan of Charles Williams, and this book is one of my favorites of his, along with the Taliessin poems and All Hallows' Eve-- with the added benefit that it isn't as impenetrable as the Taliessin poems often are. Thomas Cranmer of Canterbury alone is worth (to me) getting the book for, with its sympathetic yet unsparing (even harsh at times-- Cranmer's last scene, ooh) picture of Cranmer mixed with haunting cascading language. Seed of Adam is kind of cool with its rather unorthodox portrayal of Joseph and Adam; The House by the Stable and its sequel are just fun. Terror of Light is perhaps my favorite after Cranmer; the portrayal is just so... right, for example Thomas's rejoicing in rationality and Saul's misplaced (but understood and forgiven) judgmentalism, and Judas's (possibly heretical?) authority even in damnation. The only play I don't love is Judgement at Chelmsford, which is a bit too formal for my taste, with not enough plot, although I'm sure that actually seeing it probably works better than reading it.

If you like plays, and you like Williams' other work, then I recommend this. Of course, there are lots of people out there who don't like his erudite and casually-theological/supernatural style, which I do quite understand, and those probably wouldn't like this either. I would also have to say don't read all the plays at once, as he has some language tricks he *really likes*, and reading them three times in a row is a bit tiresome.

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