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Forms and Shadows: A Cognitive-Poetic Reading of Charles Williams’s Fiction


Edited By Andrzej Sławomir Kowalczyk

This book is a cognitive-poetic study of the seven novels of Charles Williams (1886–1945), a British author of spiritual fiction and non-fiction, a poet, playwright and a literary critic. It approaches his multidimensional narratives with reference to cognitive phenomena and mechanisms such as the figure-ground organization, conceptual metaphors, conceptual blending, image schemata, scripts, cognitive narrative frames, narrative spaces, cognitive deixis, and empathy. The methodology not only stresses the role of the reader’s conceptual and emotional involvement in the building of the story-worlds, but also reveals the novels’ polyphonic character.

"This book is a convincing and thought-provoking study of Charles Williams’s fiction, which uncovers the unique, ambiguous senses of his works."

Prof. Grzegorz Maziarczyk,

The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland

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Chapter One C.W.: The Man and His Works



This chapter—the shortest one in the book—is meant to serve as a starting point for the subsequent readings of Williams’s, or, C.W.’s,1 seven novels, also classified as “supernatural thrillers” (cf. Introduction, n.2). It offers an overview of Williams’s life and works, little known to the general reader, as well as discussing major critical accounts of Williams’s fiction. This is intended not only to provide the reader with the possibility of acquiring some frame knowledge about the topic but also to stress the novelty of the cognitive-poetic approach against the background of previous studies of the novels.

The Man

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