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Visions and Revisions

Studies in Literature and Culture


Edited By Grzegorz Czemiel, Justyna Galant, Anna Kędra-Kardela, Aleksandra Kędzierska and Marta Komsta

Collected under the theme of Visions and Revisions, the papers included in this volume examine different aspects of literature and culture of the Anglophone world. The first part gathers articles dealing with poetry of such epochs as the seventeenth century, the Victorian era and the modern times. Part two focuses on prose works representing such conventions and modes as the romance, the Gothic novel, the condition of England novel, Victorian and neo-Victorian fiction, the science fiction novel and gay fiction. Part three concerns various aspects of British and American culture, including the new media, drama and journalism, and advertising. In its diversity the volume reflects the dynamics of change in literature and culture, enabling the readers to investigate the multifaceted canon.
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“Destructive delight”: Conceptual Blending in Charles Williams’s Vision of Satanic Rituals in War in Heaven


Friedrich Nietzsche’s notable proclamation of the death of God can be interpreted as a harbinger of the ensuing secularization of Western society and its growing existential doubt, fully expressed by the Modernists. As one critic observes, Nietzsche’s idea

inaugurates a new era for the philosophy of religion and more generally for all aspects of culture. […] A new prospect arises that this world must somehow ground values immanently within itself. […] Finally free from alienation of its essence into unworldly and otherworldly abstractions, humanity can recognize itself as its own master and realize its nature and destiny fully, unhampered by any superior instance such as a divinity standing over it.(Franke 2007, 215)

Such an intellectual ambience, combined with overwhelming left-wing sentiments, dominated the England of the 1930s – a period referred to as “the red decade” (Daiches 1958, 11). Paradoxically enough, it was at the outset of the decade, in 1930, that War in Heaven, the debut novel of Charles Williams (1886-1945), was published,1 initiating the series of his “supernatural thrillers.” Contrary to mainstream trends, these works explore the spiritual dimension of the world, their plots being organized around the metaphysical conflict of good and evil understood as real spiritual entities. As T. S. Eliot puts it, “[f]or [Williams] there was no frontier between the material and the spiritual world. […] To him the supernatural was perfectly natural, and the natural was also supernatural” (2003, xiii-xiv).

In this study I intend to revisit War in...

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