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Owen A. Barfield on "The Hidden Story"

Owen A. Barfield (pictured with me above in Oxford, summer 2009) has called my new book,The Hidden Story of Narnia, "A thoughtful and thought-provoking book."

Barfield is the grandson of Owen Barfield, one of C. S. Lewis' closest friends from Oxford student days to the end of Lewis' life in 1963. Owen A. Barfield is also one of his grandfather's literary executors. You may find out more about the Literary Estate of Owen Barfield and what they are up to by clicking here: http://www.owenbarfield.org/.

Owen A. Barfield's Aunt Lucy was the one to whom C. S. Lewis dedicated The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in these endearing words....

My dear Lucy,

I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say, but I shall still be

your affectionate Godfather,
C. S. Lewis


Lucy was the adopted daughter of Owen Barfield who had this to say about her:

Lucy Barfield was a very lively and happy child--apt for instance to be seen turning somersault-wheels in the garden immediately after a meal. From an early age she showed marked musical taste and ability. After a short-lived ambition to become a ballet dancer, she eventually qualified as a professional teacher of music and was employed for a year or two as such by a well-known Kentish school for girls. But the cruel onset of multiple sclerosis soon obliged her to abandon all idea of living a normal life and she has remained for decades a (now almost) totally disabled patient in a wheel chair. (Walter Hooper,C. S. Lewis: Companion & Guide , New York: HarperCollins, 1996, p. 758)


Sadly, Lucy Barfield passed away in 2003.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which of course is going to appear as a major motion picture in December 2010, was dedicated "to Geoffrey Corbett". "Jeffrey", as he now spells his name, is the foster son of Owen and Maud Barfield, whom C. S. Lewis helped to put through school. Jeffrey changed his last name to Barfield in 1962. Since that time the dedication in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader has read: "To Geoffrey Barfield".

Owen A. Barfield wrote to me in a recent e-mail about his Uncle Jeffrey: "During my aunt Lucy's long illness with Multiple Sclerosis, he would often visit her to read out-loud the Narnia stories from which they both took comfort."

Owen Barfield fans in London will be happy to know that on Thursday, 25 March, 2010, there will be a dramatisation with harp music of Barfield's 1929 novella: The Rose on the Ash Heap. This will take place at St. Ethelburga's, 78 Bishopsgate, London, from 1:30 to 5:30 pm.

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