What is the best way to get to know a writer? Read through his or her works in the order in which they were written, reading letters, journals, books by others, and biographies along with them to create a total picture of the person’s life, ideas, and work. I am currently doing that, as best I can; some of CW’s works are hard to get (in at least two senses). Here is another blogger who is reading through C.S. Lewis’s works chronologically. I would be happy to hear about others’ experiences in reading their way through a writer’s body of work.
Last week I posted a list of Williams’s primary works grouped by genre. Now here is the same list, with the works in chronological order, and some additions. These are mostly listed by publication date, but a few are placed in the year in which they were written, if this is known and makes a difference to reading through his ouevre “in order.” Note that I have merely grouped the works by year and have made no attempt to establish a chronology within years or to determine which works in, say 1930, were written before the others, etc. If anyone has done this, please let me know!
Before approaching this long list, you may want to read my Reader’s Guide for Beginners.
So here it is: THE LIST.
· Ministry at the end of 1902 (play), unpublished.
· The Silver Stair (poetry), 1912.
· Poems of Conformity (poetry), 1917.
· Divorce (poetry), 1920.
· Arthurian Commonplace Book (notes), 19teens and ’20s?
· Outlines of Romantic Theology (theology), 1924?
· Windows of Night (poetry), 1924.
· The Masque of the Manuscript (play), 1927.
· A Myth of Shakespeare (play), 1928.
· The Rite of the Passion (play), 1929.
· The Masque of Perusal (play), 1929.
· The Masque of the Termination of Copyright (play), 1930.
· other poetry related to Amen House, late 1920s-early 1930s.
· Shadows of Ecstasy (novel), written before the other novels, but published in 1933.
· Heroes and Kings (poetry), 1930.
· Gerard Manley Hopkins’s Poems, second edition (CW served as editor and wrote the introduction), 1930.
· The Chaste Wanton (play), 1930.
· War in Heaven (novel), 1930.
· Many Dimensions (novel), 1930.
· Poetry at Present (literary criticism), 1930.
· The Witch (play), 1931
· The Place of the Lion (novel), 1931.
· The Greater Trumps (novel), 1932.
· The English Poetic Mind (literary criticism), 1932.
· A Myth of Francis Bacon (play), 1932?
· Reason and Beauty in the Poetic Mind (literary criticism), 1933.
· Bacon (biography), 1933.
· Robert Browning’s The Ring and the Book (retold by Williams), 1934.
· James I (biography), 1934.
· Bethnal Green Pageant (play), 1935? unpublished.
· Thomas Cranmer of Canterbury (play), 1935.
· The Detective Fiction Reviews of Charles Williams 1930-1935.
· Rochester (biography), 1935.
· “Et in Sempiternum Pereant” (short story), 1935.
· Queen Elizabeth (biography), 1936.
· Seed of Adam (play), 1936.
· The Story of the Aeneid (retold by Williams), 1936.
· Descent into Hell (novel), 1937.
· Henry VII (biography), 1937.
· Stories of Great Names (biography), 1937.
· Taliessin through Logres (poetry), 1938.
· He Came Down from Heaven (theology), 1938.
· Judgement at Chelmsford (play), 1939.
· The Passion of Christ (CW served as editor for this selection of readings), 1939.
· The Death of Good Fortune (play), 1939.
· The House by the Stable (play), 1939.
· Kierkegaard’s The Present Age (CW served as editor and wrote the introduction), 1939.
· Kierkegaard’s The Passion of the Christ (CW served as editor and wrote the preface), 1939.
· The Descent of the Dove: A Short History of the Holy Spirit in the Church (theology), 1939.
· Terror of Light (play), 1940.
· Grab and Grace (play), 1941.
· The New Christian Year (CW served as editor for this selection of readings), 1941.
· Witchcraft (theology?), 1941.
· Religion and Love in Dante: The Theology of Romantic Love (theology/literary criticism pamphlet), 1941.
· The Way of Exchange (theology pamphlet), 1941
· The Three Temptations (play), 1942.
· The Forgiveness of Sins (theology), 1942.
· The Noises That Weren’t There (unfinished novel), 1940-43?
· The Letters of Evelyn Underhill (CW served as editor and wrote the introduction), 1943.
· The Figure of Beatrice (literary criticism/theology), 1943.
· The Region of the Summer Stars (poetry), 1944.
· All Hallow’s Eve (novel), 1945.
· House of the Octopus (play), 1945.
· Flecker of Dean Close (biography), 1944-45, published post. 1946.
· Letters to Lalage: The Letters of Charles Williams to Lois Lang-Sims, 1943-1945.
· To Michal from Serge: Letters from Charles Williams to His Wife Florence, 1939-1945
· The Figure of Arthur (unfinished critical work).
· The Image of the City and Other Essays (literary criticism, theology, etc), written throughout his life and published posthumously in 1958.
He also wrote many additional poems, essays, books reviews, introductions, and prefaces that remain uncollected, and completed much editorial work for OUP.
As usual, please send me comments, corrections, and additions either in the comments below or to iambic[dot]admonit[at]gmail[dot]com.
Next week I will be posting a list of the primary scholarly studies of Williams. If you know one that you think I might forget to include, please mention it to me. Also, let me know if you want to post a book review of one of these secondary studies at some point in the future as a guest writer. Cheers.