A Dreadful Goodness: The Spiritual Shockers of Charles Williams

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David Livingstone


Charles Williams has been and will undoubtedly continue to be the third wheel in the literary circle of the Inklings, behind his celebrity colleagues J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. The reasons for this are manifold and partially deserved. Williams was a prolific writer who published books in various genres (novels, poetry, drama, non-fiction) and on a wide range of subjects (theology, literary criticism, history, biography, the occult, etc.). Williams was also an influential editor at Oxford University Press and a respected lecturer. This article will focus on the most well-known area of his writing, his novels, which C. S. Lewis referred to as “spiritual shockers”, not in disdain, but in admiration. Attention will be on what I believe are his most important and accomplished novels: Descent into Hell and All Hallow’s Eve. My particular interest will be on his remarkably realistic treatment of the supernatural.


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How to Cite
Livingstone, D. “A Dreadful Goodness: The Spiritual Shockers of Charles Williams”. Linguaculture, vol. 13, no. 1, June 2022, pp. 120-3, doi:10.47743/lincu-2022-1-0251.
Author Biography

David Livingstone, Palacky University, the Czech Republic

David LIVINGSTONE is an American citizen living and working in the Czech Republic for the last thirty years. He teaches Shakespeare, Modernism, Czech culture and American folk music at Palacký University in the city of Olomouc. His doctoral dissertation, entitled Subversive Characters and Techniques in Shakespeare's History Plays, attempted feminist and cultural materialist readings of the first Henriad in particular. He recently published a book, In Our Own Image: Fictional Representations of William Shakespeare, which looks at the wealth of novels, plays, short stories, films, television series and even comics focused on Shakespeare as a character.


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Lewis, C. S. “Preface.” Essays Presented to Charles Williams. London: Oxford University Press, 1947.

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Livingstone, David. In Our Own Image: Fictional Representations of William Shakespeare. Olomouc: Palacký University, 2019.

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Williams, Charles. War in Heaven. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1930.

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