[Charles Williams, poet and author (the Inklings), to the playwright Christopher Fry.] Autograph Letter Signed, Typed Letter Signed and Typed Card Signed (all 'C. W.'), in copy of his 'Thomas Cranmer of Canterbury', with Fry's ownership signature.

Charles Williams (1886-1945), English poet and author, a member of the Inklings [Christopher Fry (1907-2005), playwright]
Publication details: 
Autograph Letter from Southfield House, 1941. Typed Letter, 1942, and Typed Card, 1944, both on Oxford University Press letterheads.
SKU: 21466

The letters are in fair condition, lightly aged; the card is discoloured and stained. Loosely inserted in a copy of Williams's 'Thomas Cranmer of Canterbury', 75 + [1]pp, 8vo, with the ownership signature 'Christopher Fry' on the front free endpaper, in worn binding with fraying at head of spine. Delightful and revealing letters, mixing personal and business (Williams worked for the Oxford University Press and Fry was published by them). ONE: ALS from Southfield House, 17 December 1941. 2pp, 12mo. Thirty lines of closely-written text, on a leaf of ruled paper torn from a notebook. Apparently answering the question why he does not write more verse plays. Begins: 'My dear Christopher, | You touch me infinitely; I fear you flatter, but let that pass! I am too good an egotist to be in a hurry to believe it. The answer to the “Why don't you?” question is one you will recognize – because I can't afford to chance the time when I can write to more certain financial advantage. Besides, all the critics said Cranmer was interesting, but non-dramatic!' Nevertheless he is sending Fry a copy of the 'Cranmer', 'with all gratitude; do as you like about returning it – do or do not, and as & when you choose or can. It is tiresome enough for you to be in the army; my son has just been swept into the Air Force, & now I wait to see what will happen: either he will murder someone or he will get through well enough.' He is glad Fry is 'going to be in Oxford', and suggests a date when he might lunch with him and his wife, 'And you can tell me more about Moses'. The final paragraph reads: 'You will know – yes, you will – how at once absurd and serious and shy and grateful you made me feel with what you say about others. I am always a fool, but not so much a fool as to deny improbable facts. Commend my goodwill and gratitude to anyone who likes the books.' TWO: TLS, on London letterhead of the Oxford University Press, 3 July 1942. 2pp, 12mo. Addressed to '97002837 Pte. C. Fry, | Section 7: | No.6 Cop: N.C.C./P.C., | 12 Ashbourne Avenue, | Blundellsands, | Liverpool, 25.' With reference to Fry's play 'The Boy with a Cart: Cuthman, Saint of Sussex', published by OUP in 1939, Williams writes that he has 'made enquiries about the stock' and that 'we [i.e. OUP] are perfectly willing to keep it until, say, the end of the year. This will give the people on tour every opportunity to do what they can.' he will 'also mention it to John Trevor in case the Pilgrim Players are of any use. The two dozen copies are being sent to you.' Speaking 'officially, without committing us to anything', he does not see why 'the small selection of your poems which the Nicholas Moore people are likely to publish should interfere with any volume we might do. […] in your place I should certainly go ahead and let them do what they will of what you have. Let us leave the future to the future!' He concludes by condoling with Fry over his pneumonia. 'I know all about this through my wife's sufferings. We proceed exactly here as we have done. I have nearly finished the Dante book and one or two more Taliessin poems; I have a faint notion of trying to conclude a pamphlet of half a dozen of the last in the next two or three months. But I dare say it won't happen.' He signs 'Yrs | C. W. (my fault!)' THREE: TCS. With London OUP letterhead, 30 September 1944. Addressed to Fry at Shipton-under-Wychwood, Oxford. Reads: 'My dear Christopher, | The popularity of some people! Frederick Muller of Great Russell Street, is also enquiring about The Boy with a Cart. We have made the same answer to him. I thought you ought to know.' Fry has written a list of plays in pencil on the address side. Also included is a TLS to Fry from Professor Charles A. Huttar of Hope College, Michigan, 21 May 1991, regarding the possiblity of his 'contributing a small essay to a volume of studies of Charles Williams', with a typed prospectus of the volume and list of contributions, and a newspaper cutting of a review by Robert Nye of D. L. Dodds's book on Williams.