Author and scholar Charles Williams (1886-1945) joined, in 1908, the staff of the Oxford University Press, the publishing house in which he worked for the rest of his life. Throughout these years, poetry, novels, plays, biographies, history, literary criticism, and theology poured from his pen. At the beginning of the Second World War the publishing house was evacuated to Oxford where, in addition to his own writing and his editorial work for the Press, he taught in the University.
Shadows of Ecstasyby Charles Williams
Charles Williams had a genius for choosing strange and exciting themes for his novels and making them believable and profoundly suggestive of spiritual truths. Shadows of Ecstasy tells of a mysterious invasion that threatens Europe from Africa. United in a fanatic crusade against death, the spiritual powers of the ""Dark Continent"" rise up
THE SHADOW OF ECSTASY
Charles Williams had a genius for choosing strange and exciting themes for his novels and making them believable and profoundly suggestive of spiritual truths. Shadows of Ecstasy tells of a mysterious invasion that threatens Europe from Africa. United in a fanatic crusade against death, the spiritual powers of the ""Dark Continent"" rise up with exultant paganism.
A humanistic adept has discovered that by focusing his energies inward he can extend his life almost indefinitely. He undertakes an experiment using African lore to die and resurrect his own body thereby assuring his immortality. His followers begin a revolutionary movement to supplant European civilization.
- Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
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Reading 'Shadows...' I was constantly reminded of the whipsaw changes that are so characteristic of GK Chesterton in, say, 'The Man Who Was Thursday' or 'The Napoleon of Notting Hill'. Rapid, unexpected alterations in perception-as one gets flashing glimpses through a glass no longer quite so darkly of the Christian reality at the core of each man's participation in existence-occur at nearly every turn. There is also a flavor of fellow Inkling CS Lewis's works, with some particular similarities in the setting, mood, and characterizations that one finds in 'That Hiddeous Strength'. Beyond giving the potential reader the ideas of similarly flavored works, however, it is difficult to unfold the story line in a short review - and probably of no particular value to the potential reader. Williams must be read and his reality swum in to get even a hint of understanding at the driving truths of his Christian faith - namely, that the things of this world all point to a reality beyond that is infinitely more real, and that actions in this world reverberate into eternity in an actual and final way. I find less of another of the central themes of Williams's life-that of truly substitutionary intervention between men-but there are hints of that stream of understanding as well. All in all, though perhaps not quite as well done as the Chesterton or Lewis mentioned previously, a worthwhile read in the sense that something of worth can be taken from the book and incorporated into living.