Malcolm Guite on Owen Barfield: Knowledge, Poetry, and Consciousness

This summer, I’m reading Poetic Diction: A Study in Meaning by Owen Barfield, one of C.S. Lewis’s closest friends. By today’s standards, all of the Inklings were peculiar dudes, but back then, Barfield and Charles Williams were especially peculiar, Barfield basically a disciple of Rudolf Steiner and Williams an Anglican while also an initiate into secretive magical orders. And yet, Barfield’s book Poetic Diction influenced both Lewis’s writing and Tolkien’s, and beyond the Inklings, was praised by the late Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Howard Nemerov. So I appreciate Rev. Dr. Malcolm Guite’s illumination of Barfield’s perspectives, which take a little time to grasp. They are, however, rewarding.

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