The Rhetoric of Vision: Essays on Charles Williams

Overview

Charles Williams (1886-1945) was hailed by Eliot, Auden, Agee, and others for his metaphysical, ethical, and social vision. In this collection, nineteen scholars examine the rhetorical means he employed to convey that vision and the rhetorical theories that guided him. The contributors vary in approach, from close analysis of Williams's syntactic and semantic strategies to study of his larger concern for an organic unity of rhetoric and idea. They also address his cultivation of affect, aporia, dislocation, ...
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Overview

Charles Williams (1886-1945) was hailed by Eliot, Auden, Agee, and others for his metaphysical, ethical, and social vision. In this collection, nineteen scholars examine the rhetorical means he employed to convey that vision and the rhetorical theories that guided him. The contributors vary in approach, from close analysis of Williams's syntactic and semantic strategies to study of his larger concern for an organic unity of rhetoric and idea. They also address his cultivation of affect, aporia, dislocation, allusion, the rhetoric of genres, and other strategies. About half the essays consider Williams's fiction. They explore the theological roots of his theory of imagery; the rhetorical implications of his belief that language is inherently meaningful; his methods of creating "subjective correlatives" for heightened states of consciousness; and, in individual works of fiction, his revisionary use of time-travel and ghost-story conventions, his rhetorical application of Blakean "contraries," aspects of his diction and syntax, and his call to pursue integrity of speech as an ideal. Three essays discuss Williams's poetry, specifically his use of the occult as a mode of imagining, the social significance that permeates his idea of coinherence, and the key literary and personal influences on the evolution of his mature poetic style. Another three essays treat Williams's rhetoric in plays - his debts to medieval drama, his success with conversational style, and his reliance on ambiguity and skepticism. Finally, four examine Williams's evenhandedness and liveliness as a historian, his prose style in theological writing, his sensitivity to the rhetoric of detective fiction both as reviewer and as writer, and his markedly poetic style in literary criticism.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780838753149
  • Publisher: Bucknell University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1996
  • Pages: 355
  • Product dimensions: 6.56 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword 7
Acknowledgments 10
Abbreviations 11
Introduction 15
The Athanasian Principle in Williams's Use of Images 27
Language and Meaning in the Novels of Charles Williams 44
The Inner Lives of Characters and Readers: Affective Stylistics in Charles Williams's Fiction 59
Time in the Stone of Suleiman 75
A Metaphysical Epiphany? Charles Williams and the Art of the Ghost Story 90
Charles Williams, a Prophet for Postmodernism: Skepticism and Belief in The Place of the Lion 103
Complex Rhetoric for a Simple Universe: Descent into Hell 113
All Hallows' Eve: The Cessation of Rhetoric and the Redemption of Language 132
The Occult as Rhetoric in the Poetry of Charles Williams 165
Coinherent Rhetoric in Taliessin through Logres 179
Continuity and Change in the Development of Charles Williams's Poetic Style 192
An Audience in Search of Charles Williams 217
Rhetorical Strategies in Charles Williams's Prose Play 238
Thomas Cranmer and Charles Williams's Vision of History 248
History as Reconciliation: The Rhetoric of The Descent of the Dove and Witchcraft 265
The Theological Rhetoric of Charles Williams: A Peculiar Density 277
The Caroline Vision and Detective-Fiction Rhetoric: The Evidence of the Reviews 290
Poetry, Power, and Glory: Charles Williams's Critical Vision 309
Concordances 323
Contributors 331
Index 337
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