Charles Williams and Friendship sub specie Arthuriana

  • Sørina Higgins Baylor University
Keywords: King Arthur, Arthuriana, War in Heaven, Taliessin through Logres, The Region of the Summer Stars, The Chapel of the Thorn, Commonplace Book, co-inherence, Silvania, Conformity, Romantic Theology, Carbonek, Knights of the Round Table, Vulgate, Galahad, Grail Knights, Holy Grail, The Silver Stair, Edward Waite, Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, Graal, Emerald Tablet of Hermes, Doctrine of Correspondence, The Masques of Amen House, Grevel Lindop, Charles Hadfield, Inklings, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, That Hideous Strength, Ransom Cycle

Abstract

The famous phrase sub specie aeternitatis means “viewed in relation to the eternal; from a universal perspective” (OED). Charles Williams, however, viewed his vocation, friendships, and writing sub specie Arthuriana: from the perspective or through the lens of his own Arthurian adaptations. This article asks two questions. First: Did Williams collaborate with others on his Arthurian works? Second: Does his vast Arthurian symbolic system postulate a theory or a theology of friendship? The answer is “Yes” to both, as his friendships deeply influenced his Arthurian writings, and vice versa. Furthermore, it is impossible to understand Williams’s Arthurian mythos or his ideas on friendship without some knowledge of the occult systems in which he was trained. Specifically, the occult doctrines of correspondence and of the secret tradition inform Williams’s theology of friendship-as-initiation, which was highly collaborative, occultic, and Arthurian, patterned on the Knights of the Round Table and on the model of hermetic orders. 

Author Biography

Sørina Higgins, Baylor University

Sørina Higgins is a Ph.D. student and Presidential Scholar at Baylor University. She also serves as Chair of the Language & Literature Department at Signum University. Her academic interests include British and Irish Modernism, the works of the Inklings, Arthuriana, theatre, and magic. Her latest work is the editing of an academic essay collection entitled The Inklings and King Arthur: J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, C.S. Lewis, and Owen Barfield on the Matter of Britain (2017), winner of the 2018 Mythopoeic Society Inklings Scholarship Award. She wrote the introduction to a new edition of Charles Williams’s Taliessin through Logres (2016) and edited and introduced The Chapel of the Thorn by Charles Williams (2014). She is also the author of the blog “The Oddest Inkling,” devoted to a systematic study of Charles Williams’s works. As a creative writer, Sørina has published two books of poetry, Caduceus (2012) and The Significance of Swans (2008).

Published
2019-01-09
Section
Articles