To Try to Save the Devil

TheLondonMercuryCharles Williams only wrote one short story: “Et in Sempiternum Pereant.” It was published in The London Mercury in 1935. You can read the full text on Project Gutenberg Australia and listen to a really excellent audio version by voice actor Ulf Bjorklund.

The story features Lord Arglay, one of the main characters from Many Dimensions. It is a tight, streamlined piece–for CW, anyway–with what I read as a perfect unity between setting and theme. The descriptions are extremely vivid, and it is only at the end that CW lets his diffuse style get away from him. There are only two characters, and their stark contrast and surprising affinities are worthy of a superhero story. The theological twist at the end is a shocker. Do give it a read and/or listen and leave a comment below; I would love to know your thoughts about this fascinating, creepy tale.

About Sørina Higgins

Sørina Higgins is Editor-in-Chief of the Signum University Press. She holds a Ph.D. in English from Baylor University. Dr. Higgins is currently co-editing a volume on the ethical turn in speculative fiction with Dr. Brenton Dickieson and previously edited an academic essay collection entitled The Inklings and King Arthur. She is also the author of the blog The Oddest Inkling, devoted to a systematic study of Charles Williams’ works. As a creative writer, Sørina has a volume of short stories, A Handful of Hazelnuts, forthcoming from Signum’s own press. Outside of academia, Sørina enjoys practicing yoga, playing with her cats, cooking, baking, podcasting, gardening, dancing, and ranting about the state of the world.
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5 Responses to To Try to Save the Devil

  1. Ann Ahnemann says:

    The Gutenberg AU link is broken


  2. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Interesting to think that this was published – and, I presume, written – after C.W. had begun working on what would be published as Descent into Hell.


  3. marian says:

    Hi there, I have just read the short-story,
    I very much liked it until the moment Lord Arglay went into the cottage. Then it became quite messy :).
    Btw. I haven’t read Many Dimensions, so perhaps I don’t quite get it (?).


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