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Taliessin through Logres, The Region of the Summer Stars, and Arthurian Torso Paperback – 1974
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Here, in this unusual volume, the lyric cycle represented by Taliessin and Summer Stars is brought together with two other works, both indispensable to an understanding of the poems. In "The Figure of Arthur", Charles Williams' prose study of the Arthurian legend, he provides valuable background information on the ancient legend of King Arthur and the holy Grail.
C.S. Lewis's commentary, "Williams and the Arthuriad, suggest an order for reading the poems that establishes a narrative continuity and draws on notes from William's himself to help clarify the meaning of the cycle. The Arthurian poems of Charles Williams- complex sometimes obscure, always challenging- are now available to the wider audience they have so long deserved.
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Top customer reviews
I have written "An Introduction to Taliesin through Logres" over on my Charles Williams blog. It is designed to help you find your way through this dense, beautiful, complex poetry. Please check it out! [...]
One of the three books I really want on a Kindle so I can carry with me.
I found Arthurian Torso to be the best part of the book by far. By itself, it deserves a five star rating. Williams traces the fascinating history of the Grail with the legend of King Arthur and the Round Table using a combination of scholarly acumen and lucid tutorial explanations. In other words, it is both accurate and understandable. Lewis, in turn, adds insightful commentary about both the Arthurian saga and Williams' poems on the subject. Lewis's wisdom and lucid prose are as delightful to read on this matter as they are about other subjects he tackled.
Unfortunately, I think the poetry will appeal to very few people. I give it a one star quality (which, when combined with the five star quality of the Arthurian Torso give the book an overall rank of three.) Even C.S. Lewis admits that Williams' biggest fault is his obscurity. (There are times when even such a scholar as Lewis - who not only loved the Arthurian legend, who adored poetry, and who had discussed this poetry at length with Williams himself - found himself puzzled by parts of it, describing parts of it as "cryptic", or saying "I end in doubts" or "There are things in this piece which I do not understand.")
I was unmoved by this poetry. It was like trying to read something in an unfamiliar language - no meaning was conveyed.
So all in all, this book receives a mixed review. If the Arthurian legend interests you, then this work is worth obtaining, simply for the Arthurian Torso section of it. If you get anything out of the poetry, it will be a bonus.
Tawny M. Goswitz