Joy and Poetic Imagination:
Understanding C.S. Lewis's "Great War with Owen Barfield and its Significance for Lewis's Conversion and Writings
Book Description

The "Great War" was a prolonged debate between Lewis and Barfield, fraught with subtle metaphysical and philosophical distinctions. Even Lewis scholars find the arguments and their implications difficult to grasp. Author Stephen Thorson began writing this book over 30 years ago and published parts of it in articles during Barfield's lifetime. Barfield wrote to Thorson in 1983 saying, " have surveyed the divergence between Lewis and myself very fairly, and truly in depth..."

This book looks at the role of Lewis's recurrent experiences of Joy and Poetic Imagination in his philosophy, examining how his view of being and imagination changed drastically after his conversion. The thought of Lewis's life-long friend, Owen Barfield, whose conversion to Rudolf Steiner's esoteric Anthroposophy stimulated a dispute between the two men that was crucial for Lewis's conversion to Christianity, is also examined.

"I can truthfully say that I have no comment to offer other than praise ... [referring to Thorson's article on the "Great War" published in 1998]. It is hardly necessary to add that I enjoyed reading it." - Owen Barfield

"No one was closer to C. S. Lewis, as both friend and intellectual sparring partner, than Owen Barfield; and no one was closer to Barfield in that respect than Lewis. Joy and Poetic Imagination is a long-overdue leap forward in our understanding of a key feature of each man's life and work." - Arend Smilde, co-editor of The "Great War" of Owen Barfield and C.S. Lewis: Philosophical Writings 1927-1930)

"Stephen Thorson's writings are like a door to a proper understanding of the philosophical thinking of C. S. Lewis and Owen Barfield ... highly recommended to anyone who is interested in the philosophy of Lewis and Barfield." -- Norbert Feinendegen, co-editor of The "Great War" of Owen Barfield and C.S. Lewis: Philosophical Writings 1927-1930)

​​About the Author

​Dr. Thorson is a pediatrician with an MA in Theological Studies, and has worked in Nepal for thirty-two years. He contributed most of the topical articles for the award-winning Applied New Testament Commentary and The Applied Old Testament Commentary, and has regularly published articles on Lewis and Barfield.

Stephen Thorson
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