OT Charles Williams

hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk
Wed Oct 29 09:06:13 EST 2003


Thanks for that info, Minnow! No, I didn't really think that Uncle A was a direct hit at Williams - but I did wonder whether the whole Golden Dawn thing (plus associated splinter groups) might have been at the edge of Lewis's mind in creating his own Edwardian magic dabbler, and hence Williams popped into my head. Mind you, Uncle A seems to have been a loner, doesn't he, and those groups were very much into intiating each other into things and taking impressive-sounding titles unto themselves and passing and conferring various degrees of adeptness, all generally communal activities.
ObDWJ though, I've often wondered whether Uncle A and his place between the worlds didn't lie behind Uncle Ralph in Lives of Christopher Chant, who shares that habit of sending hapless nephews on errands to other worlds and places in between...
Charlie




Message date : Oct 29 2003, 12:25 PM 
>From : minnow at belfry.org.uk 
To : dwj at suberic.net 
Copy to : 
Subject : OT Charles Williams 
Charlie wrote: 

>OT, and just thinking about Uncle A again - I have a vague memory that 
>Charles Williams, CS Lewis's great chum, was a member of the Golden Dawn 
>or at least on friendly terms with magicians like A.E. Waite - anyone know 
>if that's right? 

Williams was a magical dabbler, certainly, from an early age, and got into 
the less respectable side via the Rosicrucians; he was initiated into the 
Golden Dawn in 1917 as a disciple of Waite's, and into Waite's schismatic 
"temple" rather than the bit infested at the time by Alasteir Crowley, who 
went off and did his own thing. Yeats was also involved (now there's an 
understatement!). 

It seems to have been at least in part because of his strange religious 
beliefs (though he always tried to make it clear that he was a christian of 
*some* sort) that Tolkien mistrusted him to the point of his being the 
cause of a rift between Tolkien and Lewis. Williams was very charismatic, 
and for a long time Lewis thought he was the gnat's spats, a view with 
which Tolkien disagreed very strongly. 

Maybe Tolkien didn't hold with William's admiration for the work of Crowley 
(Williams thought *Moonchild* was wonderful stuff, and if you've read it 
you may form your own opinion of whether thinking it great says a lot about 
a person...) And Williams did write poems like "Witchcraft" and 
"Antichrist", which if I were a devout Roman Catholic like Tolkien would 
certainly make me decidedly edgy about him and his religious beliefs It 
surprises me slightly, always has, that Williams' work didn't equally make 
the muscularly Christian Lewis edgy about him, but it seems not to have 
done for ages. 

I don't know when Williams left the Golden Dawn; he was probably purged at 
some point, it seems to have been the usual way to leave. 

Oh, and T.S. Eliot thought his novels were wonderful -- which coloured my 
thinking about the novels until I had read them, and about Eliot 
thereafter. 

If Uncle A is a snipe at Williams, it's a posthumous one, becase Williams 
died in 1945. 

And that will be enough of *that* on a Wednesday. 

Minnow 


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