Carl's Reviews > Poetic Diction: A Study in Meaning

Poetic Diction by Owen Barfield
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's review
Nov 15, 07

bookshelves: culturecriticism, anthropology, literarytheory, philosophy
Recommended for: fans of the inklings and those interested in philosophy of language
Read in January, 2004

Don't have this fresh in my mind as it's been a while since I read this, but I think Barfield's work is interesting not only as a key to the thought of the Inklings, but as a philosophical/literary perspective parallel to but a bit off from mainstream 20th century thought. I feel like there are a lot of resonances with hermeneutic phenomenology, and hope to explore that further. For example, Barfield's ideas about metaphor seem to me very similar to Dreyfus' account of Heidegger's own work:
"On the contrary, Heidegger wants us to see that at an early stage of language the distinction metaphorical/literal has not yet emerged". p. 42, Being-In-The-World, Hubert Dreyfus. I find no mention of Heidegger or Ricoeur in the index and bibliography of Verlyn Flieger's book Splintered Light, on Tolkien and Barfield, which maybe isn't surprising considering how phenomenology was taken on so much by french thinkers (Tolkien was anything but a francophile) and it's association with Sartre's existentialism (who misinterpreted Heidegger, according to Dreyfus), but I think a mutual cross examination of both sides, eg, Barfield and Ricoeur, would be quite fruitful-- but maybe that's just me trying to consolidate my diverse interests.
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