• In this essay I will seek to discern just how seriously Williams intends for his readers to take the notion of substituted love. Specifically, is the picture of substituted love in Descent into Hell simply an illustration of a theological principle, or is the theological principle meant to be inclusive of a real world practice? In order to better understand this issue, I will first look at some of the sources of substituted love, including Williams’ interest in the occult, his medieval sensibility, and his broader theology of romantic love.