Tolkien and Hyperborea – The Four Ages of Middle-earth

It is somewhat surprising, given the popularity of Tolkien’s works, that relatively little attention has been paid to some of the supplementary artwork for The Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion. Among the more intriguing pieces produced by the author are the heraldic designs for the various Elven houses. To my mind, no one [...]

Why does Lancelot become a Werewolf?

An Analysis of Charles Williams’ The Son of Lancelot In William’s poem The Son of Lancelot, we are treated to a dramatic tableau of pagans dancing on the Palatine hill in Rome during the Lupercalia festival. This is led by vicars of Rhea Silvia, the mother of Romulus and Remus, who conceived the twins after [...]

Some Sketches for Charles Williams’ The Vision of the Empire

The king's poet gazed in the mirror of the Horn... Phosphorescent on the stagnant level a headless figure walks in a crimson cope, [...] His guard heaves round him; heaven-sweeping tentacles stretch, dragging octopus bodies over the level;

Why is Taliessin a Unicorn?

Following on from my last article on the Octopods in P’o-lu, I thought I would attempt a brief look at Taliessin’s Song of the Unicorn, to see if we can make any interpretations of its symbolism in a traditional vein. While the answer may get very abstract and philosophical, the question I have to ask [...]

The Founding of Britain

Four roads run from Logres, to cardinal points;joints in the bones of this burgeoning nation,named New Troy, when Brutus laid its foundation,slew a great ram and cut it in quartersfor the demarcation of rule along four borders.Yet when he awoke the next morning from sleep,gone was the carcass and there stood the sheepalive and unharmed [...]

Why are there ‘Octopods’ in P’o-lu?

Any readers of this blog unfamiliar with Charles Williams’ Taliessin poems will have to forgive this rather absurd-sounding question, and may pass over the answers given here. But, really, why are there octopods in P’o-lu? The reason, I believe, is linked to Williams’ use of the Zodiac. The octopus corresponds to the house of Cancer, [...]

Owen Barfield’s ‘Poetic Diction’ – Psyche and Soma Unified?

I have lately discovered Owen Barfield’s deeply fascinating book, Poetic Diction. Barfield is perhaps known to most as one of the tangential members of the Inklings, a loose society of writers operating in and around Oxford in the mid-20th century. A lifelong friend of C.S. Lewis, Barfield was a key influence on the former’s coming [...]

Charles Williams: An Introduction to His Arthurian Cycle

Charles Williams is a much overlooked figure in literature; of the trio of Williams, Lewis and Tolkien who were arguably the most notable of the inklings, he is least well known, despite a prolific output in a range of areas from Theology to literary criticism, and in forms ranging from the biography and the thriller [...]