Worlds Apart is one of Barfield's most accessible and approachable works. It is an homage to Thomas Love Peacock who composed dialogic, satirical novels in the nineteenth century. In his work Barfield sums up what he feels is the problem of overspecialization among technical scientists and humanists. He deals with society, philosophy and spirituality in a most entertaining and whimsical way, complete with roman a clef enticements.
This book is the selection for our discussion at October 2012's meeting in Boulder Colorado. Whether you can make the meeting or not, do yourself a favor by reading the book. It should stimulate commentary, which is bound to benefit all of us, especially if you include it here.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Terry has asked for a definition of creative nonfiction--and I'm sure a tie-in to Barfield would also be appreciated. "Creative nonfiction" is the latest name for what was called "literary journalism" in the 40s and beyond, when Norman Mailer and Truman Capote used novelistic techniques to report on true crime, with the effect of entertaining as well as exposing "the facts," such as they were seen to be. "Creative nonfiction" is prose whose narrative motive comes from things that have really happened, as opposed to fiction, where the narrative is imagined. An intriguing tie-in to Barfield and Lewis's "Great War" manifests itself here, since for Barfield (as for Coleridge), Imagination is as much "reality" as the materially validated, sensorially perceived world. In contrast, for Lewis (according to Barfield in "Lewis, Truth, and Imagination"), Imagination and "truth" were to be kept separate. The exquisite blurring of the line separating "literary/fictional truth" from "fact" has always fascinated me. Without pointing to a specific Barfield text, I will venture to claim that this blurred line--a function of formal techniques which developed with the novel and were superimposed over "historical fact," and which at one point were actually the source of a sort of shame (novels were bad, they sent people off to tilt at windmills)--represents a complex stage in the evolution of human consciousness whose development can be as profitably traced through literary history as Barfield says it can through etymology. Questions?
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
We're thrilled that the Barfield Forum is "up"! And I personally am thrilled to be "on" it! (I think Barfield might have enjoyed tracing the uses of prepositions in English...) In upcoming weeks I hope to post in just about every thread, but most devotedly in "Creative Nonfiction," where I believe there is fertile ground for examining how Barfield's writings on the evolution of consciousness give us--writers and readers alike of the burgeoning field of cr nonf--fascinating ways to think about literature in general and this genre in particular. I'm just now looking at the relatively recent writing on "Theory of Mind" in relation to narrative--which dovetails notions of the evolution of consciousness beautifully. So...be on the lookout. I'll be back soon.