First published in , ‘Poetic Diction: A study in Meaning’ presents not merely a Praise for Owen Barfield: “A prolific and interesting thinker” – Times Literary. Title, Poetic Diction: A Study in Meaning. Author, Owen Barfield. Edition, 2. Publisher, Faber & Faber, Length, pages. Export Citation, BiBTeX EndNote. Returning always to this personal experience of poetry, Owen Barfield at the same time seeks objective standards of criticism and a theory of poetic diction in .

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The central concept rings true. Poetic Diction is that book.

It is as if he spoke your language but mispronounced it. I knew since reading Tolkien that philology, poetry, and mythology were interests of his, and since learning about the Inklings that philology, poetry, and mythology were shared interests of that group, but always just thought of this as a particular interest of this group of folks. Using poetic examples, he attempts to demonstrate how the imagination works with words and metaphors to create meaning.

Brilliant, though I poeetic it wound through realms of language theory that I was unfamiliar with. Barfield might be characterised as both a Christian writer and a learned anti-reductionist writer. In any event, Barfield lays out an sequence of interesting examples of how words have danced with meaning, and how that dance has changed leading up to modern times.

Barfield’s big idea is that if “language is fossil poetry,” then working our way back into linguistic time, language should get intrinsically more and more poetic until finally we hit the bedrock of language where all human linguistic experience is ultimate poetry. Jun 28, Sophie rated it really liked it. Ditcion conception of poetry presupposes a strong Sapir-Whorf hypothesis which is now out of favor.

Bacon, Newton, Kepler, Hobbes Barfield’s sense of inadequacy Lockeā€”no innate ideas all from senses Jul 30, James Prothero added it.

Owen Barfield – Wikipedia

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Barfield has been known as “the first and last Inkling”. Highly recommended for anyone interested in: Poetry becomes a description of this experience, about how our p Owen Barfield has truly written a philosophical and literary masterpiece.


And, of course, it is fitting that a book on words and meaning should be thus. For example, the single Greek word pneuma which can be variously translated as “breath”, “spirit”, or “wind” reflects, Barfield argues, the primordial unity of these concepts of air, spirit, wind, and breath, all included in one “holophrase”.

A Study in Meaning. Yes indeed, Barfield attempts all that, nor am I ambitious enough to summarize the theory of poetry that he takes pages to unfold.

But Barfield’s greater agenda is “a study of meaning”. What I mostly derived from it was how poorly educated I barfiele am. His evidence of linguistic change is almost entirely predicated on the evolution of the Indo-European languages which is largely the story of transition from synthetic to isolating languages.

A Study in Idolatry and as a founding diftion of Anthroposophy in the English speaking world. This is because his words are indelibly inviting.

It is a risky many would say faulty way to begin a treatise, but, at every turn, Barfield proves entirely up to the task and Dictionn am well convinced that he has accomplished his goal of communicating truths clearly, deeply, and, indeed, through means of his own experiences.

Tennyson; David LaveryBen Levin, ed.

Poetic Diction

So, I’m reading the other Inklings. Barfield assumes a lot from his readers, poetoc only fluency in poetry and philosophy, but also French, Latin, and Greek. Thereafter he had many guest appointments as Visiting Professor in North America. It loses you occasionally, because Barfield is carrying on philological debates with men nobody’s heard of today, but in bxrfield time were apparently influential.

After his profession was Arthur Owen Barfield was a British philosopher, author, poet, and critic. However, he does not allow for changes of consciousness that work both ways. He’s writing about poetry, but he writes about everything, really, up to and including philosophy of science.


Owen Barfield Literary Estate: Official Website

His work is hard, but he shared the interests and values of the other Inklings and that gives me a little something. He does not promise more and then elude you of it. This is little more than a textbook example of the kind of chronological snobbery that Barfield accused scientism of.

The Allegory barfjeld Love. Using etymology, Barfield argues that language holds within it a “history of consciousness” and that poetic language moves us by affecting in us a “felt change of consciousness”, allowing us to participate more fully in the Meaning with which the world is dripping.

Actually, it is quite possible that Barfield himself wrote an excellent review, as part of is Preface to the book’s second edition – the original being from Otherwise I found the book engaging and thought-provoking in a way that transcended the seemingly straightforward subject matter.

He unashamedly states that he will prove the underlying truths about poetry by offering a critique from his own ppetic.

When the world never seems to be living up to your dreams He makes an example of the word “ruin” dicyion its poetic etymology, if you will, what it came to mean as poets breathed the electricity of creative meaning into it. Dec 30, Tommy Grooms rated it really liked it.

Returning always to this personal experience of poetry, Bafield Barfield at the same time seeks objective Feb 05, Adam Ross rated it liked it. Here’s Barfield’s assessment of the book, 46 years after its publication: The film Owen Barfield: Owen Barfield has truly written a philosophical and literary masterpiece. Lewis dedicated his book Barfild of Love to Barfield. A few I even think, when I put them down, that maybe someday I’ll read them again.