In light of Barfield's central place in the life of the Inklings, his fundamentally influential friendship with C.S. Lewis, and his reputation among literary lights as diverse as W.H. Auden, Howard Nemerov, and Saul Bellow as one of the most profound thinkers of the twentieth-century-it is curious and unfortunate that so much of Barfield's work has become so scarce. This Reader
is a little bulwark against this trend. It includes selections from books by Barfield still in print, such as Poetic Diction, Saving the Appearances,
and History in English Words,
but also valuable excerpts from those which are not: Unancestral Voices, Romanticism Comes of Age, History, Guilt, and Habit, The Rediscovery of Meaning, Worlds Apart, Speaker's Meaning,
and The Silver Trumpet.
The twenty-five page introduction by G.B. Tennyson is also a brief yet thorough mini-biography and appreciation of Barfield's work. We leave you with Bellow's testimony to Barfield's greatness: 'We are well supplied with interesting writers, but Owen Barfield is not content to be merely interesting. His ambition is to set us free.from the prison we have made for ourselves by our ways of knowing, our limited and false habits of thought, our 'common sense.'' 191 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
Owen Barfield was one of the most original and stimulating thinkers of the twentieth century, the man that C.S. Lewis said could not speak on any subject without illuminating it, the man whose writings have won praise from figures as diverse as T.S. Eliot and Saul Bellow, Walter de la Mare and Howard Nemerov, W.H. Auden and Marshall McLuhan. This comprehensive overview supplements major selections with numerous short supporting passages form the whole corpus of his writings and provides a short glossary of Barfieldian terms and useful primary and secondary bibliographies.