Barfield, Owen. Worlds Apart

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London: Faber & Faber, 1963.  First edition

Signed by the author, a core member of The Inklings, an informal literary discussion group associated with J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis at Oxford for nearly two decades between the early 1930s and late 1949.

A fine copy in fine dust wrapper save for 3 small closed edge tears and some general toning.  An uncommon book in fine condition with Barfield's very scarce signature.  

Barfield is known as "the first and last Inkling": "first" owing to his book of fantasy (The Silver Trumpet) appearing in 1925, before any of his peers’ fantasy works; and "last" because he survived many of his contemporaries.

Barfield had a profound influence on C. S. Lewis and, through The Silver Trumpet and Poetic Diction (dedicated to Lewis), an appreciable effect on Tolkien.

Barfield and C. S. Lewis met in 1919 as students at Oxford University and were close friends for 44 years. "It is no exaggeration to say that Lewis's friendship with Barfield was one of the most important in his life…". Barfield was an important intellectual influence on Lewis. Lewis wrote his 1949 book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first Narnia chronicle, for his friend's daughter Lucy and dedicated it to her.  It is also believed that the character of Lucy Pevensie is based in part on Lucy herself, sharing her name, fair hair, and lively personality.  Lewis also dedicated The Voyage of the Dawn Treader to Barfield's adopted son Geoffrey in 1952.

Barfield was also an important influence on Tolkien. In a letter to C. A. Furth of Allen and Unwin in 1937, Tolkien wrote, "the only philological remark (I think) in The Hobbit is...: an odd mythological way of referring to linguistic philosophy, and a point that will (happily) be missed by any who have not read Barfield (few have), and probably by those who have." Lewis wrote to Barfield in 1928 about his influence on Tolkien: "You might like to know that when Tolkien dined with me the other night he said, apropos of something quite different, that your conception of the ancient semantic unity had modified his whole outlook, and he was always just going to say something in a lecture when your concept stopped him in time. 'It is one of those things,' he said, 'that when you have once seen it there are all sorts of things you never say again."

Barfield was also an influence on T. S. Eliot, who called Worlds Apart "a journey into seas of thought very far from ordinary routes of intellectual shipping."