Today I am listing significant scholarly studies of CW’s life and work. You may find this list helpful while you endeavor to read, understand, analyze, and share his writings. On some I have made comments; others I have just listed. If you want to write a one-sentence description of any of these, please do; send it to me and I will add it to the bibliography.
As usual, please contact me with comments, corrections, and additions.
- Lindop, Grevel. Charles Williams: The Third Inkling. The official biography, forthcoming from Oxford University Press. Please follow @GrevelLindop on twitter for more info, and pre-order the book here.
- Although Lindop’s biography will be the first official bio, Alice Mary Hadfield (a friend and co-worker of CW’s) did write two books that serve to introduce the reader to the man and his work somewhat. They are: An Introduction to Charles Williams (Robert Hale, 1959) and Charles Williams: An Exploration of His Life and Work (Oxford UP, 1983). I posted a summary of this second book over on my other blog. It is essential reading, but it is awfully written. Its style is truly abominable. Yet until Lindop’s is published, it is nearly all we have.
- Carpenter, Humphrey. The Inklings: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and their Friends. HarperCollins, 2006. The essential collective biography of the Inklings, with some discussion of their mutual interactions and friendship-dynamics.
- Glyer, Diana Pavlac. The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community. Kent State University Press, 2007. A fascinating study of the many important ways the Inklings influenced one another.
- Dodds, David Llewellyn. Arthurian Poets: Charles Williams. An important edition of CW’s works, with an essential introduction.
- Ashenden, Gavin. Charles Williams: Alchemy and Integration. Kent State University Press, 2007. An extended examination of the occult themes and materials in CW’s works.
- Howard, Thomas. The Novels of Charles Williams. Oxford UP, 1983; Ignatius Press, 1991. This is the essential guide to the novels. Howard talks the reader through the main plot elements, characters, and themes of each novel, simplifying and sanitizing CW’s weirdness as he does so. This approach is extremely helpful, even necessary for some readers, but does tend to lessen the impact of CW’s strangeness somewhat.
- Cavaliero, Glen. Charles Williams: Poet of Theology. UMI, 1995. This work of literary criticism is organized by genre, discussing CW’s poetry, criticism, biographies, plays, novels, Arthurian poetry, and theology. It examines many important themes in the work, especially coinherence.
- King, Roma Jr., The Pattern in the Web: The Mythical Poetry of Charles Williams. Kent State University Press, 1990. This is an examination of the structures of the Arthurian poetry: on their forms, techniques, and inter-relationships.
- Dunning, Stephen M. The Crisis and the Quest: a Kierkegaardian reading of Charles Williams. Paternoster Press, 2000. A detailed study of the “schism,” CW’s particular kind of spiritual desolation, which he also used as a literary theory.
- The Image of the City, ed. Anne Ridler. (OUP, 1958 and reprints) is worth listing again here for Anne Ridler’s book(let)-length “Critical Introduction”, pp. ix-lxxii and additional “Introductory Note to the Arthurian Essays”, pp. 169-75.
- Bray, Suzanne, and Richard Sturch, eds. Charles Williams and His Contemporaries. An important essay collection containing studies of Williams and his friends, including an essential piece by Michael J. Paulus on CW’s work publishing Kierkegaard.
- Horne, Brian, ed. Charles Williams: A Celebration. Gracewing, 1995. A collection of essays assembled and edited by the chairman of the Charles Williams society.
- Agnes Sibley, Charles Williams (Boston: Twayne, 1982)
- Schakel, Peter, and Charles Huttar, eds. Rhetoric of vision: Essays on Charles Williams. Bucknell UP, 1996.
- Schideler, Mary McDermott. The Theology of Romantic Love: A Study in the Writings of Charles Williams. Eerdmans, 1966.
- Hillegas, Mark R. Shadows of imagination: the fantasies of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams. Southern Illinois University Press, 1979.
- Moorman, Charles. Arthurian triptych; mythic materials in Charles Williams, C.S. Lewis, and T.S. Eliot. University of California Press, 1960.
- Mahan, David. An Unexpected Light: Theology and Witness in the Poetry and Thought of Charles Williams, Michael O’Siadhail, and Geoffrey Hill. Wipf & Stock, 2009.
- Gunnar Urang, Shadows of Heaven: Religion and Fantasy in the Writing of C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and J.R.R. Tolkien (Phila.: Pilgrim Press, 1971)
- Reilly, Robert James. Romantic religion: a study of Owen Barfield, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams and J.R.R. Tolkien. Floris, 2007.
- Heath-Stubbs, John. Charles Williams. London: Published for the British Council and the National Book League, 1955.
- Scarf, Christopher. The Ideal of Kingship in the Writings of Charles Williams, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien (James Clarke & Co, 2013
- Lois Glenn’s Checklist (Kent State UP, 1975),
- R.A. Gilbert, The Golden Dawn: Twilight of the Magicians (1983)
- R.A. Gilbert, A.E. Waite: Magician of Many Parts (1987)
- Kathleen Spenser, Charles Williams (Mercer Island, WA: Starmont House, 1986)
- Dennis L. Weeks, Steps Toward Salvation: An Examination of Coinherence and Substitution in the Seven Novels of Charles Williams (New York: Peter Lang, 1991)
- Barbara Reynolds, The Passionate Intellect: Dorothy L. Sayers’s Encounter with Dante (Kent State UP, 1989).
- Kenneth W. Pickering, Drama in the Cathedral
- Helen M. Luke, Through Defeat to Joy: The Novels of Charles Williams in the light of Jungian Thought (Apple Farm, Three Rivers, Michigan [n.d.: c. 1980])
- Gareth Knight, The Magical World of the Inklings (1991; and a 2010 ‘New and Expanded’ edition with a Foreword by Owen Barfield).
- “Magic in the Myths of J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams” in the Inklings-Jahrbuch, vol. 10 (1992), pp. 37-60
Journals examining CW’s work:
- Seven (VII: An Anglo-American Literary Review)
- The Charles Williams Society Newsletter/Quarterly
- The Journal of Inklings Studies
- the Inklings-Jahrbuch
- Arthurian Literature
- Useful webpages:
· The Charles Williams Society
· The Co-Inherence Discussion List
· Article by Thomas Howard in Touchstone Magazine
· Daily blog of CW’s Year of Devotional Writing
· Biography by G.W.S. Hopkins
· Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
· Glen Cavliero on the novels
· some of his poems!
· A Beginner’s Bibliography of the Inklings
· article by Scott McLaren on the early novels