Charles Williams. He’s not an easy man to write about and there will be more about him later, but he and T.S. Eliot were best friends, he was also buddies with J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and is often called “the forgotten inkling.”
See, every year, I read his books All Hallow’s Eve and The Greater Trumps over Halloween. Halloween has especial significance to me personally, not because of the popular holiday, but because I was baptized on All Saint’s Day. Now, in Orthodoxy we celebrate All Saint’s Day during the summertime so November 1st isn’t as significant to me now as it used to be, but my protestant (and thus catholic) influenced past still affects me.
Williams isn’t easy to read. Tolkien and Lewis won at being Inklings by being approachable. Think of Charles Williams as a Christian H.P. Lovecraft. His writing is not at all approachable. He’d write a sentence that was three paragraphs long and you might even need a dictionary or thesaurus to get through it. If you don’t believe me, go read him.
Williams was also the most “human” of those men. Oh, you think the C.S. Lewis moral controversies were a big deal? Williams was a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn and committed numerous mortal sins before his conversion to Christianity.
He wrote other great books too–his Grail stories were awesome. But each year, I read the aforementioned two without fail because I love them so much. The Greater Trumps heavily influenced my own book The Darwin Delusion and I mercilessly parodied Williams in it, because that’s what you do when you’re a creative and you love something.
If you had to pick just one to read tomorrow, go with The Greater Trumps. But otherwise, get both.
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