‘25 March is Tolkien Reading Day! On that day you should pick up any of Tolkien’s works and dive in. Even better is to join your other Tolkien friends and go to a local Reading Event.
Tolkien Reading Day was set up to encourage people to read some of Tolkien’s stories at school or university, in reading groups, or as a family. Reading Day is an opportunity for grownups and children to read together and share their thoughts about journeys in Tolkien’s works and the places the travellers are going to. You can read an old favourite or maybe discover new ones. One thing is certain I have reserved 25 March at iwearyourshirt.com and will ask Jason and Evan to read some Tolkien for us... guess I’ll be giving away some books that day as well. But next to Tolkien Reading Day there is another event that Tolkien lovers will very much enjoy, namely the dramatisation of Owen Barfield’s 1929 novella: The Rose on the Ash-heap.’
Het is Pieter Collier die dit schrijft. We zijn onverhoeds zo weer bij Owen Barfield terechtgekomen. Want hij gaat door:
‘Owen Barfield is one of the twentieth century’s most significant writers and philosophers. He is known as “the first and last Inkling”, and was one of the initial members of the Inklings literary discussion group based in Oxford, of which J.R.R Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were also important members. Barfield’s ideas and literary artistry influenced the thinking of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, and won praise from many other leading literary figures of the century.It is my pleasure to announce the following event:
OWEN BARFIELD – THE ROSE ON THE ASH-HEAP
A dramatisation with harp music of Owen Barfield’s 1929 novella: The Rose on the Ash-Heap
Thursday 25th March 2010
1.30 pm to 5.30 pm St. Ethelburga’s,
London EC2N 4AG
Event price: £25 in advance or £35 on the door.
Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets and information. Places are limited. Please register early to avoid disappointment.
The dramatisation of The Rose on the Ash-Heap was first performed at the Goetheanum (Switzerland), last year. Here is your chance to see another showing.’
U kunt er dus niet meer bij zijn, want ik ben een dag te laat. Maar opvallend is het wel, ook die vermelding van het Goetheanum, die had ik in ‘Verfrissing’ zondag ook al. Maar het gaat nog door; lees en verbaas u:
‘The Rose on the Ash-Heap is the epilogue from English People – Barfield’s ambitious unpublished novel of English life between the First and Second World Wars. At once fairy tale, societal critique, romance and apocalyptic vision, it discloses the redemptive powers of love and imagination. Written in the late 1920s, a time of widespread societal and economic instability, The Rose on the Ash-Heap is also a tale for the twenty-first century.
“Sultan, Lord of all the Asias, falls passionately in love with a beautiful and elusive temple dancer. He pursues her across continents, all the way to Albion, where the Lord of Albion – guardian of all that is good in the English spirit – confronts the overwhelming threat of Abdol and the forces of materialism”.
Owen A. Barfield is the only grandchild of Owen Barfield. He was 28 when Barfield passed away, and became a trustee of the Owen Barfield Literary Estate in 2006. In 2008, he set up the Barfield Press UK as the publishing arm of the Literary Estate. The novellas Eager Spring, Night Operation and The Rose on the Ash-Heap are previously unpublished works. New editions of Poetic Diction, This Ever Diverse Pair, and The Case for Anthroposophy will be available soon.
Gary Lachman is the author of several books on the related themes of consciousness and culture, including Politics and the Occult: The Left, the Right, and the Radically Unseen, Rudolf Steiner: An Introduction to His Life and Work, and A Secret History of Consciousness, in which Owen Barfield’s work features largely. A journalist, he has written for the Times Literary Supplement, Independent on Sunday and other journals. He conducted one of the last interviews with Barfield, and contributed to the 1996 award winning documentary film, Owen Barfield: Man and Meaning.
Simon Blaxland-de Lange is a German/Russian language expert. He is the co-founder of Pericles Translations and Research. His book Owen Barfield: Romanticism Come of Age - a Biography was published in 2006. He is the convener of the 2009 international conference held in Switzerland titled, Owen Barfield and the Redemption of the Western Mind.
Paulamaria Blaxland-de Lange is an actress and storyteller who has worked for many years with adults with special needs. She co-founded Pericles Translations and Research in 1992.
Liehsja Andrea Blaxland-de Lange is a professional harpist and musician.’
Owen A. Barfield, Gary Lachman, Simon Blaxland-de Lange: we zijn ze allemaal al een keer tegengekomen. Alleen de dames Blaxland-de Lange (dochters waarschijnlijk, of toch echtgenote en dochter of nichtje?) niet. Waar ik echter nu nog naartoe wil, is die ‘1996 award winning documentary film, Owen Barfield: Man and Meaning.’ En dat kan. Maar dan moeten we alleen even een ander pad nemen. Daarvoor gaan we langs bij ‘The Laverytory’:
‘Devoted to media matters, politics, poetry, creativity, the evolution of consciousness, and autobiographical reflections, “The Laverytory” is the blog of David Lavery, literature, film, and television scholar/critic, now teaching at Middle Tennessee State University.’
‘I am Professor of English and Popular Culture at Middle Tennessee State University. Co-Convener of a January 2011 conference on Lost, founding co-editor of Slayage: The Online International Journal Of Buffy Studies & Critical Studies In Television, and author of Joss: A Creative Portrait Of The Maker Of The Whedonverses (forthcoming); co-author Unlocking The Meaning Of Lost and Lost’s Buried Treasures, author/editor/co-editor of Late For The Sky: The Mentality Of The Space Age and books on Twin Peaks, X-Files, My So-Called Life, The Sopranos, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Teleparody, Seinfeld, Deadwood, Gilmore Girls, Battlestar Galactica, Cult TV, Crying, and Heroes.’
Het leest in het origineel een beetje moeilijk met uitsluitend hoofdletters, die heb ik dan maar stilzwijgend door cursief vervangen. Deze beste man is heel productief op zijn weblog en gooit er ook veel Owen Barfield doorheen. Waar het mij nu echter om gaat, is deze bijdrage op:
‘Friday, August 21, 2009
“Owen Barfield: Man and Meaning” Available Online
Thanks to the help of Barry Cantrell of MTSU’s Academic and Instructional Technology Services, Owen Barfield: Man and Meaning can now be streamed or downloaded from the Barfield website: http://davidlavery.net/Barfield/owen_barfield-man_and_meaning.flv
You will need RealPlayer or the VLC player in order to view it.’
De laatste link leidt naar een bestand van 100 Mb dat je kunt downloaden, waarvoor je dan een documentaire krijgt van bijna veertig minuten, met een zeer oude Owen Barfield! Een erg leuk portret van deze man. Hij is vrij moeilijk verstaanbaar; bij de video zat oorspronkelijk een boekje met de uitgeschreven tekst (jawel, door Gary Lachmann). Op internet heb ik dit (nog) niet kunnen vinden. Wel een recensie van de documentaire door Dale Nelson, hij is
‘Assistant Professor of English at Mayville State University (North Dakota) and has published articles on C. S. Lewis, William Law, George MacDonald, John Mason Neale, and others. He is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod’,
en vanuit die optiek schrijft hij over Barfields belangrijkste werken, uitgaand van de relatie tot C.S. Lewis, en tevens over de documentaire:
‘Owen Barfield: Man and Meaning does not pass over the Lewis friendship, but reminds us that there was more to Barfield’s long life. The video and accompanying booklet provide a general chronology, from a North London childhood, service in Belgium during the First World War, and the dull years in the law office, to the late burst of activity as writer and lecturer at an age when many people have retired. The solicitor’s office years are memorialized with wry humor in This Ever Diverse Pair, the pair being the two halves of Barfield himself embodied as the prosaic Burden and the imaginative Burgeon. Lewis called the book a “high and sharp philosophic comedy,” though it is one of Barfield’s least-known works. The years of lecturing at Brandeis, Drew, SUNY-Stony Brook and other North American universities were the occasion of some incisive essays. Still photographs from family albums complement the footage of Barfield being interviewed for the camera. It is no criticism of Barfield or the video’s producers to say that we are given little about his marriage; there is a hint that it may, like Charles Williams’s or Tolkien’s, have had its difficulties.
Barfield’s thought is always characterized by the conviction that the humanities matter very much indeed, for all of us—not only for professional academics. Poetic Diction, along with Lewis’s Experiment in Criticism and Tolkien’s “On Fairy-Stories,” will reward anyone needing assurance of the value of literary experience. Poetry, Barfield shows, can provide a “felt change of consciousness”—experiencing a single line of poetry, one may from that moment know more, though what is known is not a matter of “fact.” Poetic Diction (1928), dedicated to Lewis, is Barfield’s most extended treatment of this insight. In Speaker’s Meaning (1967), he expounds the “polarity” in language, with expression—a speaker’s unique meaning—as one pole, the other being communication, the lexical meaning. The first is expansive, the second contractive, and metaphor comes into being in the tension between the two poles. Speaker’s Meaning presents a favorite theme of Barfield’s, the evolution of consciousness. Barfield finds evidence of it in the change from the earlier experience of poetic inspiration as something that is visited upon a passive poet from without, as the work of a Muse or other agency, to the experience of poetic inspiration characteristic of the present, as proceeding from within oneself, from one’s own “shaping spirit of imagination.” Poetic Diction and Speaker’s Meaning complement each other by dealing with the nature of literary experience for the reader and for the poet. History in English Words (1926) early showed what U. Milo Kaufmann called Barfield’s unusual combination of idealism and empiricism.
Barfield’s major work on the evolution of consciousness, Saving the Appearances (1957), is the one of all his books that he most hoped would continue to be read. In the video, Barfield says that his lifework has basically been “thinking about thinking,” and this is the book where he endeavors to show the conclusion that he has drawn: that the relationship between consciousness and nature itself—a correlative relationship—has changed from the most ancient times to our own. Declining to affirm this idea as sober truth, Lewis was, at least, fascinated by it as an imaginative conceit, as suggested above. (...)
Like Samuel Taylor Coleridge, about whom Barfield wrote an important academic volume, What Coleridge Thought (1971), Barfield is a fruitful writer for religious thinkers to read, though he generally did not write specifically about religious doctrine or practice. As more biographical material about him is published (and, perhaps, his letters appear in print), we will probably learn more about his faith, which he did not readily converse about. Sensing some affinity, I sent Barfield a copy of Alexander Schmemann’s For the Life of the World after one of my rereadings of Saving the Appearances. In typically generous fashion, Barfield replied with comments on Schmemann’s book that showed his engagement with it, commending the Orthodox theologian’s “painstaking coalescence of the three concepts, participation, symbol and sacrament.” Barfield, raised in an agnostic family, was baptized and became a member of the Church of England only in late middle age. In a very late interview with James Wetmore, Barfield expressed the centrality of Christ’s death and Resurrection for his faith. G. B. Tennyson stated (in a personal communication) that in retirement Barfield attended Anglican services, but the funeral rites for him were those of the Christian Community, the denomination set up by Rudolf Steiner. Evidently the Church of England generally does not discourage its members from participation in Steiner’s anthroposophic activities; in fact, the author of a laudatory 1954 biography of Steiner, called Scientist of the Invisible, was an Anglican clergyman, A. P. Shepherd. Barfield wrote the introduction.
Barfield retained the anthroposophic beliefs he had begun to learn while a young man. Rudolf Steiner’s “occult science” features reincarnation, Christ and Jesus as two separate beings, a “Fall” engineered by “Luciferian” beings to promote man’s ascent to his destiny of spiritual freedom, “post-Atlantean epochs,” and more. The Waldorf schools provide the contact that most people have with anthroposophical ideas, specifically those regarding human development as creative, spiritual, as well as psychological and physical, beings. Barfield once said that the contrast between his faith and Lewis’s could be summarized by Barfield’s belief that man’s destiny is to become a free spiritual being, to which Lewis replied that he was not born to be free, but to obey and to adore. I don’t know how much of Steiner’s doctrine Barfield accepted; certainly I know of no place in which he ever denied any of it. He wrote forewords to numerous anthroposophic books, by Steiner and others. Fortunately, there is little specifically Steinerite doctrine in Barfield’s books aside from Romanticism Comes of Age, a novel called Unancestral Voice, and the comments of a character in Worlds Apart (which also features, in the person of Hunter, a character who “is” C. S. Lewis). Barfield insisted that the main lines of his thought about the evolution of consciousness were laid down before he began to read Steiner or joined the Anthroposophic Society. The authorities cited in Barfield’s books are generally thinkers such as Erich Auerbach, Ernst Cassirer, and, certainly, the likes of Plato, Aristotle and Coleridge. (...)
This well-made video is obviously a labor of love. An “Inklings” discussion group could view it before talking about, say, History, Guilt, and Habit (1979), an outline of his leading ideas, or “Imagination and Inspiration,” “The Meaning of Literal,” and the title essay from The Rediscovery of Meaning (1977). The elderly Mr. Barfield’s speech is not always distinct, but the producers have thoughtfully included a complete transcript in the accompanying booklet.’
Hij spreekt inderdaad nogal onduidelijk, maar bij de tweede keer kijken kun je zijn gedachten al veel beter (innerlijk) horen en volgen. Er wordt in de film een prachtig gedicht van Barfield met de titel ‘A Meditation’ – dat is het eigenlijk ook – getoond (op 29:05) en ook voorgedragen (helemaal aan het eind op 37:07), beginnend met de zinsnede ‘Light in the world’ en eindigend met de omkering daarvan ‘World in the light’. Alleen al om dat te zien en te horen zou je die veertig minuten kunnen uitzitten!