A Cretaceous Perambulator (The Re-examination of) (1936)

  • The Mock Examination Paper

    From their time as undergraduates Owen Barfield and C.S. Lewis enjoyed “walking and talking” together.  By 1927 and up until the 1950s they were accustomed to a long-walk at Easter with their anthroposophist friends, Cecil Harwood and Walter O. Field.

    They called themselves “The Cretaceous Perambulators.”

    Here is how C.S. Lewis described themselves in a letter to Walter Field in response to Field’s concern about not fitting in (Field was the economist who helped make the practical arrangements):

    “You are under a simple illusion. You notice when Owen and I are talking metaphysics which you (and [Harwood]) don’t follow: you don’t notice the times when you and Owen are talking economics which I can’t follow. Owen is the only one who never of his depth. The thing is an image of what the world ought to be: wedded unlikes.”

    —CS Lewis, May 1943.

    Because C.S. Lewis was absent form their Easter walk in April 1936, the friends humorously set Lewis a re-admission exam.

    C.S. Lewis entered into the jest and provided written answers.

    During the 1930s they were joined by J.R.R. Tolkien and in 1938 Tolkien hand wrote a new ‘Cretaceous Perambulator – Exam paper.’


  • The Mock Answers
    by C.S. Lewis in jest.

  • The Allusions

    These explanations were given by Owen Barfield in 1983.

    First privately printed in 1983 (100 limited edition).

    © Owen Barfield Literary Estate 2021.  © C.S. Lewis Ptd. Ltd. 1983.

  • Mark vs. Tristram (1947)

    Written in 1947, and prompted by ‘Le Morte d’Arthur’ (Thomas Malory C.15th), this is a parody of legal correspondence between Owen Barfield (as himself – the lawyer at Barfield & Barfield) and C. S. Lewis (as a fictitious client and lawyer at Blaise & Merlin).

    First privately printed in 1967, re-printed 1990 (100 limited edition).

    © Owen Barfield Literary Estate 2021. © C.S. Lewis Ptd. Ltd. 1990.

    Pauline Baynes’s drawings for Mark vs. Tristram: copyright © 1990 by the Williams College Oxford Programme, courtesy of the Chapin Library, Williams College.