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Shadows of Ecstasy Paperback – February 14, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Regent College Publishing (February 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573831093
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573831093
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,270,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Charles Williams—novelist, poet, critic, dramatist and biographer—died in his native England in May, 1945. He had a lively and devoted following there and achieved a considerable reputation as a lecturer on the faculty of Oxford University. T. S. Eliot, Dorothy Sayers and C. S. Lewis were among his distinguished friends and literary sponsors. He was also a member of the Inklings, a group of Christian writers that included J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By C. V. Manning on July 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
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.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Standfast on February 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
I am sorry to see comments to the effect that this novel is less appealing because it is "dated." In some ways, that is what I love about it. Are we so convinced of the irrelevance of past times that there's nothing to be found in a book that takes a snapshot of attitudes and behaviors at an earlier time and place?

That aside, the beauty of this, all of Williams' books, and indeed all the work of the Inklings is that you don't have to be a Christian to admire the authors' respective abilities. (Sometimes I feel as if educated Christians and I are the only ones reading these books.) I have an atheist intellect and a pagan temperament, but relish Williams and Lewis, especially, for their deftness at capturing psychological types; specifically, the human ability to indulge one's personal immaturities while pretending to oneself and others that one has only the loftiest goals and is completely justified. Deep portraits? Perhaps not, but we've all seen people play the games with themselves (and others) that these characters do, caught up in supernatural dramas of one sort or another. That's what's most telling in a way: the knack Williams has for showing how his characters approach even miraculous happenings through their own preconceptions, just as we do with more mundane events every day.

And back to "dated" -- in some ways it's the most delicious part. When the African "heir apparent" makes his identity known, the response of one character -- straight from a reading of Rider Haggard -- is rich with both nostalgia and the ironic reminder that novels like Haggard's were often all even educated people once knew about the non-European world. Williams is a quirky miniaturist, but a skilled and generous-hearted one.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Judith Guttman on June 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I have the same question -- still unanswered -- about this "edition" as about the "edition" of Williams's _All Hallows Eve_ This "Shadows" is substantially shorter than my hardcopy of _Shadows of Ecstasy_ If "edited" here really means abridged, I would like to know. The older Williams e books were full of typos, but I'd rather have that than the product of some jerk who thinks he knows more about prose and fiction than Charles Williams does.
I really would like an answer to this question.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michael Blyth on December 17, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In my opinion, this book is not at all up to the standard of Williams' other novels. There are some interesting characters and ideas but a lot of inconsistencies and rough edges as well. Read it if you have read the other novels and want this one for completeness. The one memorable character for me was Isabel, and her most memorable quote,

"But those that die may be lordlier than you; they are obedient to defeat. Can you live truly till you have been quite defeated? You talk of living by your hurts, but perhaps you avoid the utter hurt that's destruction."
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