On Tuesday, August 26, Owen A. Barfield, the grandson of Owen Barfield (1898-1997) will visit the Library for a discussion about his grandfather’s work and thought. Owen Barfield was one of the twentieth century’s most original thinkers. A philosopher and poet, Barfield was a friend of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, both of whose works were influenced by his ideas. Owing to his friendship with Lewis from their student years and his long life, Barfield has been called “the first and last Inkling,” a reference to the informal literary circle of that name at Oxford.
Although Lewis credited Barfield with helping to turn him from atheism to belief in God, Barfield was not an orthodox believer and his writings were heavily influenced by anthroposophy, a spiritualistic school of philosophy founded by Rudolph Steiner. Barfield believed in evolution and saw reincarnation as an essential compensation for the inequalities created by the gradual development of humanity. Yet he considered himself a Christian and declared that taking communion constituted his “happiest hour.”*
“A Conversation with Owen A. Barfield” is being sponsored by the School of Divinity, School of Communication and the Arts, and the University Library. The event will take place from 3:00 to 4:30 in the Library Gallery area. Mr. Barfield will be joined by Dr. Michael Elam, Dr. Micahel DiFuccia, and Dr. Bill Brown in a discussion about the role of imagination in life, the Inklings, and more. Following the program, please join us for fellowship, tea, and scones. A RSVP, while not required, is encouraged, and can be done on Facebook, Google+ or by an e-mail to Stephanie Lowell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Paul R Waibel and M. Kari Daven, “Owen Barfield,” Salem Press Biographical Encyclopedia (Ipswich, MA: Salem Press, 2013), Research Starters, EBSCOhost.