Studies in Literature and Culture
Edited By Grzegorz Czemiel, Justyna Galant, Anna Kędra-Kardela, Aleksandra Kędzierska and Marta Komsta
“Destructive delight”: Conceptual Blending in Charles Williams’s Vision of Satanic Rituals in War in Heaven
← 148 | 149 →Andrzej Sławomir Kowalczyk
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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