Owen Barfield

Philosopher, Author

1898 – 1997


Who was Owen Barfield?

Owen Barfield was a British philosopher, author, poet, and critic.

Barfield was born in London. He was educated at Highgate School and Wadham College, Oxford and in 1920 received a first class degree in English language and literature. After finishing his B. Litt., which became his third book Poetic Diction, he was a dedicated poet and author for over ten years. After 1934 his profession was as a solicitor in London, from which he retired in 1959 aged 60. Thereafter he had many guest appointments as Visiting Professor in North America. Barfield published numerous essays, books, and articles. His primary focus was on what he called the "evolution of consciousness," which is an idea which occurs frequently in his writings. He is best known as the author of Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry and as a founding father of Anthroposophy in the English speaking world.

In 1923 he married the musician and choreographer Maud Douie. They had two children, Alexander and Lucy; and fostered Geoffrey. Their sole grandchild is Owen A. Barfield, son of Alexander.

Barfield and C. S. Lewis met in 1919 and were close friends for 44 years. Barfield was instrumental in converting Lewis to theism during the early period of their friendship which they affectionately called 'The Great War'. Maud also guided Lewis. As well as being friend and teacher to Lewis, Barfield was his legal adviser and trustee. Lewis dedicated his 1936 book Allegory of Love to Barfield. Lewis wrote his 1949 book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for Lucy Barfield and he dedicated The Voyage of the Dawn Treader to Geoffrey in 1952.

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Nov 9, 1898
Also known as
  • Arthur Owen Barfield
  • G. A. L. Burgeon
  • Barfield Owen
  • United Kingdom
  • Wadham College, Oxford
  • University of Oxford
  • Highgate School
Lived in
  • London
Dec 14, 1997
Forest Row

on July 23, 2013


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