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Many Dimensions [Paperback]

By Charles Williams (Author)
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Item description for Many Dimensions by Charles Williams...

Overview
Imagine Raiders of the Lost Ark set in 20th-century London, and then imagine it written by a man steeped not in Hollywood movies but in Dante and the things of the spirit, and you might begin to get a picture of Charles Williams's novel Many Dimensions. The plot turns on the discovery of the magical Stone of Solomon, through which one can move at will through space, time, and thought. Those who think they can manipulate the stone to serve their own ends, however, find to their horror that, as Jesus once ironically said, "they have their reward." While the story clearly deals with the extraordinary, through his humorous and loving depiction of his British characters Williams more deeply shows us the spiritual reality that lies inside the ordinary.

Publishers Description
This penetrating study of evil in the human heart revolves around a mysterious Stone of many dimensions, by which one can move at will through space, time, and thought. Replete with rich religious imagery, "Many Dimensions" explores the relation between predestination and free will as it depicts different human responses to redemptive transcendence.

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Item Specifications...


Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Pages   269
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.5" Height: 7.75"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 1963
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Edition  Revised  
ISBN  080281221X  
ISBN13  9780802812216  


Availability  0 units.


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 > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity


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Reviews - What do customers think about Many Dimensions?

How does one measure God...or Spacetime..., for that matter?  Feb 10, 2006
Even to his fans Williams can seem a bit remote, but once you get used to the British inflection and syntax in his dialogs - and identify the parameters of the uncanny worlds he portrays - Williams can become exhilirating. His is a very unique and peculiar genius. This particular book has depths and images I will ponder for quite some time. It also has a very subtle and intelligent humor. I should probably read it again. Apart from the provocatively and profoundly problematic talisman of the Stone and a clever plot illustrating some fascinating ethical and theological conundrums, I believe Williams brilliantly (and prophetically?) explores (what I had previously thought was) the ultra-modern and ultra-sophisticated (or perhaps, if you prefer, science fiction) topic of teleportation in its many forms. No doubt this guy got his Images from a Dimension few of us visit during our daylight dealings and distractions.
 
Freaky, Deaky, Sheiky  Feb 4, 2006
For a provoking supernatural thriller (to the extent early 20th century Brits can be thrilling) Williams can't be beat. But here Williams goes beyond his typical heterodoxy to apparently reject the Triune God and further poses a bizarre revisionist history where Persians have somehow maintained the engine of King Solomon's flying carpet. That's all well and good for ecumenical sorts I suppose, but, personally, I think Mr. Williams drew a bit too deeply from the hookah during the Golden Dawn ritual at which he conceived the plot of this particular metaphysical potboiler. Ultimately the book seems to abandon the cycle of redemption. Williams finds salvation outside of Christ's death on the cross and instead in the workings of a queer rock. Weird, Wilde stuff. So I would skip this one, unless it's raining and you don't have anything else to read, or you've read War in Heaven and have a burning desire to know the fate of Giles Tumulty.

Also, the quality of the Eerdmans books is disappointing. This is unfortunate since they're publishing a third of the current Williams catalog. My copy of Many Dimensions is already falling apart and the pages resemble a digital scan of the original. My Regent College copy of All Hallows' Eve appears to be of better construction. Read it or War in Heaven instead.
 
Nice Follow-along to "War In Heaven"  Jul 31, 2005
On page one the reader finds that Charles Williams's "Many Dimensions" has a setup similar to his "War In Heaven"- namely, that the scholar Sir Giles Tumulty (a crossover character from "War...") has obtained an ancient artifact which purportedly has supernatural powers of a religious flavor. The remainder of the book develops as a struggle over the artifact between those who are aligned in someway with the forces of light and those aligned with the forces of darkness.

"...Dimensions" falls short of "War..." in that Williams's narrative in "...Dimensions" is less cohesive and more prone to various sidebars and extraneous characters - always a risk in a Williams novel. To his credit, however, the extraneous sidebars and characters allow Williams to perceptively comment on some character types and issues commonly encountered in the modern (or post-modern) world.

Though perhaps not as good as "War in Heaven", worth reading as a loose sequel to that book, or can be read as a stand alone. Somewhere between 3-4 stars and generally better (if only by being more substantive) than most contemporary fiction and certainly better than "The Da Vinci Code".
 
Very funny for Charles Williams, and well done  Dec 13, 2001
Charles Williams is always deep, and often thick and meaty. Happily, in this novel, he is extremely funny. Watching what the British do when a spiritually powerful stone is dropped into their outstretched hands is a fine pursuit. Some situations are farcically funny, others witty, and some are, in the end, pitiful- the kind of jokes about the human race that are rooted in our failure to do all we should with our great gifts, that we wish we didn't have to make.

Williams combines an ultimately serious theme with high poetry, good plot and characters, and his highly individual treatment of the supernatural and mysticism for a very satisfying read (and re-read).

 
Does God Play Dice?  Apr 3, 2001

Contrary to popular belief, I'm fast coming round to the idea that Williams was a *philosophical* writer rather than a *religious* writer. And not only because he himself described his seven novels as "metaphysical thrillers".

Unlike "Descent into Hell" - which is quite frankly an overwrought gothic monstrosity - "Many Dimensions" is a 'typical' Williams story, with standard English prose (standard for the 1930s, that is), a straightforward plotline and plenty of pace. In fact you could put "Many Dimensions" up against later fiction of a similar tone - like Dennis Wheatley, for example (not very well-known now, but immensely popular in the 50s and 60s) - and be hard put to pick a winner.

So where does the philosophy come in?
Primarily in the form of a series of very basic, but also very important, questions that lie just below the surface of the story - and sometimes not even below the surface.

Questions like: "If you can restore all of the people in group A to health, but in the process throw at least an equal number of people in group B out of work - at a time when work isn't that easy to come by in the first place - which group should take priority?"

This question, and others closely related, run all through the story yet, due to Williams' writing skill, they do nothing to impede the plot unless the reader actively chooses to think them through.

The final answer Williams gives, I *think*, is that there is no *easy* answer. Only he frames his conclusion far more lucid and impactful manner than that last observation might suggest.

In short, this writing has the power to enthrall and satisfy a wide range of readers.
The only reason I don't give it five stars is because the literary style is typical of British writing in the 1930s, which I guess won't necessarily be to everyone's taste.
Having said which, I really do recommend the majority of Williams' novels as a taste worth acquiring.

Oh yes, why did I give this review the title "Does God Play Dice?"? When you read the book I think you'll know exactly why.
Good reading!

 

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