London: Faber & Faber, (1945). First Edition. Hardcover. First printing, duodecimo size, 206 pp., in original dust jacket, in a custom chemise and slipcase. Fine / near fine. Item #20050501
Charles Walter Stansby Williams (1886-1945), a companion of Lewis and Tolkien and a lecturer at Oxford, was a prolific writer, perhaps best remembered today for his fantasy novels which usually have strong Christian elements. T.S. Eliot wrote of William's novels: "[they are] 'supernatural thrillers' because they explore the sacramental intersection of the physical with the spiritual while also examining the ways in which power, even spiritual power, can corrupt as well as sanctify" (n.b., quote from Wiki).
Williams first met C.S. Lewis when, each having read one of the others' books, each sent a note to the other which crossed in the mail; the two became life-long friends, with Lewis becoming one of Williams' most ardent admirers. Many believe that Lewis had Williams in mind as an inspiration for "That Hideous Strength" (published the same year as this work, 1945), the third of the three novels comprising Lewis' "Space Trilogy".
"All Hallow's Eve", the last of Williams' novels to be published during his lifetime, can be considered an allegory in that "a primary purpose of the book is to illustrate Williams's particular mystical brand of Christianity." Many Christian themes are explored including redemption, substitution, and the release of the soul into the afterlife. However, it can also be enjoyed at a level not dependent upon those allegorical themes, for "[i]n it one finds the ambiguity of realistic fiction, the development of complex characterization....[and a] setting [which] is comtemporary and realistic. We are in London, with real people, facing real problems. Although the reader is led to look for secondary meaning in the presence of a dead protagonist, it can certainly be argued that the effectiveness of the novel does not depend on our believing or even understanding Williams's doctrines" (Leeming and Drowne, "Encyclopedia of Allegorial Literature", p. 13).
___DESCRIPTION: Full red cloth over thin boards with gilt lettering on the spine; duodecimo size (7.5" by 5"), pagination: [1-4] 5-206 (note that the final two signatures are unopened). In a the original publisher's dust jacket, unclipped and showing the original price of 8s. 6d. in the lower corner of the front flap, design by "BLW" (of whom we could not find any information), lettering and decorations on the front in grey with red highlights, all upon a light blue background, grey lettering on the spine, publisher's listing of "New Fiction" on the back panel, summary of the book on the front flap (with the original price), publisher's ad on the back flap for two other titles by Charles Williams. Contained within a chemise covered with red cloth, lined with light ivory laid paper, a single gold dot on the front "cover" of the chemise, which slides into a matching custom slipcase also covered in red cloth, lined with red paper, with two red leather spine labels with gilt lettering and ruled borders.
___CONDITION: Volume is fine, with clean boards, perfectly straight corners utterly without rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean, and entirely free of prior owner markings; some toning and shallow waviness to the cheaply-produced war-time paper, still a fine copy, simply the best one is ever to find. The unclipped dust jacket is near fine, the blue paper true to the original colour without sunning or toning; a bare minimum of edgewear and two miniscule holes, invisible unless one holds the jacket to the light. The chemise and slipcase both fine, clean, strong and sturdy. Overall an outstanding example.
___CITATIONS: Clute and Grant, pp. 1015-1016; Currey, p. 540; Leeming and Drowne, p. 13.
___POSTAGE: International customers, please note that additional postage may apply as the standard does not always cover costs; please inquire for details.
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