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 a PhD student in English and Presidential Scholar at Baylor University. She also serves as Chair of the Language and Literature Department at Signum University, online. Her latest publication is an academic essay collection on "The Inklings and King Arthur" (Apocryphile Press, December 2017). Her interests include British Modernism, the Inklings, Arthuriana, theatre, and magic. She holds an M.A. from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English. Sørina blogs about British poet Charles Williams at The Oddest Inkling, wrote the introduction to a new edition of Williams’s "Taliessin through Logres" (Apocryphile, 2016), and edited Williams’s "The Chapel of the Thorn" (Apocryphile, 2014). As a creative writer, Sørina has published two books of poetry, "The Significance of Swans" (2007) and "Caduceus" (2012).
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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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