The Inkling Impulse

Owen Barfield’s Early Inkling Moments

While in class at Highgate School, London; with friend Cecil Harwood – about language.
While in the Royal Engineers Signal Service of the British Army; with brother Harry – about polarity.
While at Wadham College, Oxford, writing the article ‘Form in Poetry’ published in the New Statesman (August 1920); with friend C.S. Lewis – about evolution of consciousness.
While dancing at Somerville College (then ladies only), Oxford; with Maud (on 13th November) – the Inkling impulse manifested.

Maud Barfield (née Douie)

Maud was a musician, as well as a theatre and dance choreographer.

During World War One, Maud had been the most senior female officer in the Armed Forces of the British Empire, Commander in the Royal Navy (the highest rank permitted by her gender and social class).

Maud was the instigator of ‘The Roseland Concert Party’ which contributed to the revival of West Country folk music, and it was during this period she met Owen.

Maud and Owen married on 11th April 1923 in St Cyprian’s Church, Clarence Gate, London; and honeymooned in Chartres. As Maud was independently wealthy she was able to provide for Owen – giving him the means to think and write – until the Great Depression of 1929, thereafter Owen took up the practice of law.

Maud was also friend and mentor to C.S. Lewis who attended church with her during 1923, at St. Mary-the-Virgin, Primrose Hill, London. The church that Lucy was later baptised in with Lewis as her Godfather.

Maud lived from 1885 to 1980. She had a timeless quality.

Roseland Concerts

Maud’s response to World War One was ‘The Roseland Concert Party’ performed in 1920 & 1921 with Owen Barfield and the Radford Sisters.


1920 – Cornwall


1921 – Cornwall


1921 – Oxford

Some Early Inkling Books

The Silver Trumpet by Owen Barfield, not dedicated.
C.S. Lewis gave the book to J.R.R. Tolkien who read it to his children.
Tolkien reported that the book “scored a direct hit” with them.
Poetic Diction by Owen Barfield, dedicated to C.S. Lewis.
In 1928 Tolkien read Poetic Diction which he stated “modified his whole outlook.”
Allegory of Love by C.S. Lewis, dedicated to Owen Barfield.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, not dedicated.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis,
written for and dedicated to Lucy Barfield.
The Voyage of the Dawn Tread by C.S. Lewis,
dedicated to Jeffrey Barfield (born Geoffrey Corbett).
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (first edition),
dedicated to his fellow Inklings and all admirers of Bilbo.
Saving the Appearances by Owen Barfield,
dedicated to brother Harry with C.S. Lewis et al. in acknowledgements.