Owen Barfield (1898-1997), the British philosopher and critic,
has been called the “First and Last Inkling,” because of
his influence and enduring role in the group known as the Oxford Inklings.
The Inklings included C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams.
It was Barfield who first advanced the ideas about language, myth, and
belief that became identified with the thinking and art of the Inklings.
He is the author of numerous books, including Poetic Diction: A Study
in Meaning; Romanticism Comes of Age; Unancestoral Voice;
History in English Words; and Worlds Apart: A Dialogue of the
1960s. His history of the evolution of human consciousness, Saving
the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry, achieved a place in the list of
the “100 Best Spiritual Books of the Century.”