We know, or can infer, that his schooling brought him into contact with boys who would go on to careers as significant thinkers and writers. We know that his social group included or was close to some of the most exciting thinking of his time. He grew up close to theatre land and both had a great love of theatre and a deep knowledge of it. He had a love of painting, Turner in particular; he wrote on the place of Art in Design. He worked for many years for a ground breaking Lithographer; he wrote on the techniques of Lithography. Yet, his emergence into the public view was from a position as a book keeper, and it would seem not a very good book keeper.
But who really was William Smith Williams?
The book sets out to trace whence he came and whither he went to find the characteristics that enabled him, among many far more eminent, to recognise a groundbreaking shift in the English novel.