London: Faber and Faber,1945.
Small slim 8vo, 206pp. Original red cloth lettered in gilt,dust-jacket. Enclosed in a red cloth slipcase with red morocco labels. Pristine, essentially as new.
§ First edition of this landmark work in spiritual and fantasy literature, sometimes characterized as science-fiction (but not by Wessells). The finest imaginable copy, and demonstrably never read as the final two gatherings are unopened.
Charles Walter Stansby Williams (1886-1945), a companion of Lewis and Tolkien, an Inklng and a lecturer at Oxford, was a prolific writer, remembered today for his fantasy novels which usually have strong Christian elements. "A ghost story unlike any other, All Hallows’ Eve is the final novel by the remarkable Charles Williams, whose brilliant literary excursions into the spiritual and supernatural realms remain unsurpassed more than six decades after his death. Williams was arguably the most creatively daring and ambitious of Oxford’s famed Inklings, the literary society that included such notables as C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Owen Barfield, and his chilling, breathtaking, and deeply felt fiction remains the gold standard for provocative and intelligent contemporary fantasy." (Open Road Media)
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."
Clute and Grant, pp. 1015-1016; Currey, p. 540; Leeming and Drowne, p. 13. Item #124388