Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $4.82 shipping
Descent into Hell: A Novel Paperback – 1980
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
In Charles Williams's novel Descent into Hell, Hell turns out to be nothing other than a refusal to see things as they really are. Arguably his finest novel, the "descent" in the title happens to an ordinary (if extraordinarily selfish) historian named Wentworth, whose daily choices to cheat on the truth slowly but surely lead him into a terrifying state of isolation and egotism. Heaven, by contrast, is increasingly inhabited by the novel's heroine, Pauline Anstruther, who as the book proceeds learns to face her fears (and her ancestors!) and to love the truth exactly as it is. The plot turns around the latest production of fictional playwright Peter Stanhope, but for Williams Pauline's realization of the divine glory incarnate in all of life is the deeper truth that sustains this and every other drama. --Doug Thorpe
About the Author
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Set in Battle Hill, outside London, the townspeople are staging of a new play by Peter Stanhope. The hill seems to exist at a thin spot between two realities and times, as characters from the past appear, and what could be a doorway to the beyond, as characters are alternately called to heaven or descend to hell.
Pauline Anstruther, the heroine of the novel, has been seeing throughout her life a haunting figure that she comes to believe is her double. But Stanhope, in an act significant of the author's own beliefs, takes the burden of her fears himself. Williams called this The Doctrine of Substituted Love--and enables Pauline, to face her true self. Williams developed this idea from the biblical verse, "Ye shall bear one another's burdens :"
Stanhope takes the weight, with no ulterior motive, in the most affecting scene in the novel. And Pauline, sheltered from the burden of the knowledge, is able to accept truth.
Lawrence Wentworth, in contrast, a local historian finding his desire for Adela Hunt to be unrequited, falls in love with a spirit form of Adela, which seems to represent a kind of extreme self-love on his part. What can only be called a succubus, draws life from his desire and slowly consumes him. Wentworth involves himself more and more with this dangerous confection, and dreams of descending a silver rope into a dark pit. Thus does Wentworth begin the descent into Hell.
the premise and the story arc are interesting, and the key characters are moderately developed. my main difficulty was with one of the author's stylistic choices, specifically: when the action is in the physical world, the language is straightforward, but when the action shifts to the spirit world, the language shifts to a complex, intertwined, and confusing style of extended swirling run-on sentences* and fragments, which elicited in me both a sense of the convolutions of that netherworld and a sense of dizziness.
* seriously run-on; i think a couple of single sentences filled more than a single page.