Owen Barfield: Lewis's Philosopher

Topics: C. S. Lewis, Inklings, J. R. R. Tolkien Pages: 3 (1049 words) Published: March 15, 2013
Kate O’Briant
Dr. Matthew Melton
The World of C.S. Lewis
9 March 2013
The Second Friend
“Come with me and you'll be in a world of pure imagination; Take a look and you'll see into your imagination.” –Willy Wonka
Imagination is a faculty deemed worth of unraveling myths, exploring fairytales, and delving into fiction. For Owen Barfield however it was not only a tool but a way of life. Owen Barfield was one of the greatest and perhaps most neglected minds of the 20th century and he himself said he believed his works would not be understood until approximately 50 years after his death. It was this devotion to the imagination that would later change his friend, Clive Lewis’s Staples, way of thinking.

Barfield grew up in a solid family setting with a solicitor father and a suffragette mother. His childhood was filled with the arts, most emphatically, that of music. Lizzie Barfield, Owen’s mother, played that piano and after teaching her husband Arthur the Barfield household was a regular concert hall for friends and family. Barfield’s love of novels was also sparked early by his father’s passionate reading of Dickens and other novels. (Mead 1)

Barfield was educated at home be his mother until her entered Highgate Preparatory School at age 8. Barfield’s first brush with Lewis was much later. World War I was to interrupt the start to both men’s university careers and it was after this war Barfield met Lewis as an “angry atheist” asking questions in a war-torn state of consciousness. (Danielmsson) It was 1919 and Lewis, at this time in his life was frustrated and had been since his time at preparatory school and as a result he had very little desire for fairytales, fiction, or myth. He was centered solely on questions of the present concerning warring countries as well as the war which had been going on for some time in his own head. Spirits in Bondage was produced at this time in Lewis’s life and it was Barfield who reminded him of not only his love for,...
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