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re: Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

PostPosted: 14 Jun 2006, 00:11
by Reep
Thank you Sven! For those who are really interested I even found and typed your complete source.

Owen Barfield, the father of Lucy, according to Walter Hooper said:

"The question whether Lucy Pevensie was 'named after' Lucy Barfield is one I never put to Lewis. I should have thought the opening words of the Dedication were a sufficiently appropriate answer.

Whether he had her personally in mind in potraying Lucy Pevensie is another matter, and I think the answer must be No; because, although he had very willingly consented to be her Godfather, they saw very little of each other in the latter years of his life. This was due to residential and occupational circumstances and was a matter of great regret to me.

Lucy was a very lively and happy child - apt for instance to be seen turning somersault wheels in the garden immediately after a meal. From an early age she showed marked musical taste and ability. After a short-lived ambition to become a ballet dancer, she eventually qualified as a professional teacher of music and was employed for a year or two as such by a well-known Kentish school for girls. But the cruel onset of multiple sclerosis soon obliged her to abandon all idea of living a normal life and she has remained for decades a (now almost) totally disabled patient in a wheel chair".

In: Walter Hooper, C.S. Lewis: A Companion and Guide, 1996, p.758

Concerning the formal adoption of his foster son Geoffrey-Jeffrey Corbett-Barfield Owen Barfield wrote: "Upon his attaining his majority I [his father] suggested his changing his name. He was at first opposed to it but by 1962 he had changed his mind and the switch to Barfield was duly effected" (Hooper, 760). Even if it was not - does this not sound like a formal adoption?

And your post also raises some other interesting questions. What was Lucy Barfield's original first and last name? When was she adopted - and when was she baptized? How many Godchildren C.S. Lewis had altogether?

Also someone living in London might even find us Lucy's picture - both of her brothers are still alive.

re: Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

PostPosted: 15 Jun 2006, 11:25
by carol
Are you suggesting that someone in London should seek out the Barfield family and ask for a photo? Sorry, but that doesn't seem appropriate.

I believe they are entitled to their privacy. If you asked me for a photo [of my uncle who also died of MS], you would not get one!

re: Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

PostPosted: 15 Jun 2006, 13:35
by Pete
I'd agree with you, Carol, but at the same time, I'm presuming that sort of request from Lewis fans would not be unfamiliar to them - probably not the norm, but probably not something they're new to either...just a thought.

All the same, as I said - I would be inclined to agree with your judgement on this one.

Re: re: Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

PostPosted: 25 Jun 2006, 00:25
by Reep
carol wrote:Are you suggesting that someone in London should seek out the Barfield family and ask for a photo? Sorry, but that doesn't seem appropriate.
I believe they are entitled to their privacy. If you asked me for a photo [of my uncle who also died of MS], you would not get one!

Lucy Barfield died in London barely three years ago. There still must be dozens of people who knew her well and who also know her brothers. Who might be very happy to share their memories with those who really cared about her and who wish to make her better known and loved.

As much as her condition allowed her, she never was and never wanted to be a 'private' person. She was happy being recognized as Lucy as long as she lived. As a recent post at the Dancing Lawn confirms "Lucy Barfield... enjoyed all the mail she received and took pains to answer all of it personally. Perhaps it is this generous streak in her nature that inspired Lewis to be her Godparent in the first place".

See http://narniafans.com/forum/showthread. ... post420055 .
.

re: Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

PostPosted: 27 Aug 2006, 23:27
by Sir Linus the True
Thanks to everyone who posted all of this information.

I agree with Carol that we shouldn't get too nosy about people who 1) aren't technically celebrities anyway and 2) who deliberately led private lives.

I know no one here had malicious intent. But I wouldn't want us to come off as "crazy Internet stalker" types. I just had to be reprimanded myself on another forum for asking too personal of questions about someone semi-famous.

All the same, I'm glad for the information that was provided here. I'm glad to know that she did eventually learn to love Lewis' dedication to her. :)

Re: re: Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

PostPosted: 02 Sep 2006, 16:04
by Reep
Sir Linus the True wrote: I agree with Carol that we shouldn't get too nosy about people who aren't technically celebrities anyway... I wouldn't want us to come off as "crazy Internet stalker" types... asking too personal of questions about someone semi-famous.


The Godfather of Lucy Barfield wrote: "Remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship...
There are no 'ordinary' people. You have never met a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is with immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit..."
- C S Lewis, The Weight of Glory, 1941

re: Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

PostPosted: 19 Sep 2006, 00:48
by Reep
Four years before Lucy Barfield died, on January 11, 1999, The Times (UK) published a brief but a very beautiful article The Lion, the Witch and the real Lucy by Nicholas Roe, Professor of English at St Andrews University in Scotland. It not only very well describes the importance of her grandfather's dedication of The Lion to her in her life but also includes three of her photographs taken when she was about five, ten and fifteen years old.

After an introduction to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as "one of the most famous childrens stories ever told", Nicholas Roe writes: "In a west London hospital, unable to move, speak or feed herself, and able to communicate only by blinking her eyes, lies Lucy Barfield, the heroine of... so far untold story. Lucy was the girl for whom Lewis wrote his celebrated novel, the first of the brilliantly succesful Narnia series, and who lent her name to the book's central character... Whether the fictional character was based entirely on the real Lucy is still a matter for debate but what is beyond doubt is that Lewis had the wellbeing of his goddaughter in mind when he wrote the dedication which appears at the front of the novel... in 1950 when Lucy was 15-years-old...

"The brutal truth is that Lucy Barfield developed multiple sclerosis just 15 years after the book was launched, an illness that seems even more poignant when you learn of her background. Lucy was adopted. Owen Barfield, who died in 1997 aged 99, and his wife Maud, who died in 1980, had no children of their own so they adopted three: Lucy and two boys, Alexander and Jeffrey... None of this made a difference to Lewis, who became a devoted godfather and family friend, sending the children money and paying school fees. Lucy grew into a friendly and energetic girl. In her father's words she was 'a very lively and happy child apt, for instance, to be seen turning somersault-wheels in the garden immediately after a meal'. She wanted to be a ballet dancer and trained hard to achieve that ambition.

"That made her illness all the more cruel when it began to affect her in the mid-1960s. What followed was a slow, remorseless decline towards helplesness, broken by heart-breaking periods of remission. Bravely Lucy fought her disease, studying ballet, teaching it briefly and then pursuing a career as a music teacher. But as the years unwound she found she needed help, and although in the late 1970s she found happiness by marrying one of her carers, he died of a heart attack 12 years later. Lucy became bed-bound and moved into hospital. By the early 1990s she could barely speak and was unable to feed herself.

"So where is the mitigating grace in this story? And how did Lewis's gesture become such an important factor in Lucy's difficult life? The answer is simple. By dedicating his book to her, Lewis made Lucy, now 63, known to children worldwide. And for years, as her illness has progressed, they have been writing to her.

"According to the author Walter Hooper, Lewis's secretary until his death and now adviser to the Lewis literary estate, the comfort Lucy has gained from the steady flow of readers' letters, usually reaching her via the publishers, has been something she herself acknowledged when able to speak. Hooper says: 'She has told me: What a wonderful oasis of pleasure I have in this pretty terrible world, being recognised as Lucy. I have often thought how fortuitous it was that it turned out this way.'

"Some young readers think Lucy is actually the character in the book and write to ask her about her adventures. Older readers have heard she is ill and simply write to wish her well. It has been an enormous benefit, says Hooper, especially as the book's fame has matched the onset of the disease: 'She has gained enormous comfort and interest from people she had never heard of,' he says. 'I remember sending her huge containers of these things only three or four years ago. I think there were people all her life who wanted to be in touch with her. She always said she was so pleased when someone wrote, and that she could have had a much more lonely life without that dedication.'

'It is like having something in the bank that your godfather has put aside to help you in lean times. It was just a compliment made by her father's friend but it turned out to have greater significance than anyone could have guessed, including Lewis himself.'

"Lucy's brother, Jeffrey, understands this better than most because he, too, had a C.S. Lewis book dedicated to him, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. 'I have had great pleasure out of it,' he says, 'but my sister would feel it even more because she is the Lucy in the story. I'm sure it has encouraged her.' Hooper adds: 'The dedication would have meant a lot to her whether she had become ill or not. But given her circumstances it looms much larger than for someone who has everything.'

"Before he died, Owen Barfield paid tribute to his daughter, admitting privately to friends that he 'wanted to get down on his knees' to Lucy for the way that she had handled her misfortune. The fact is, Lewis's central character had become a heroine in ways that the author could not have imagined on his death in 1963.

Professor Nicholas Roe closes his story: "Lucy may not have been able to read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to her own children, as Lewis had hoped, but the way her life turned out, the literary gesture itself was enough."

Born in Carlisle, near Scotland, on November 2, 1935, Lucy Barfield died in London, at the Royal Hospital for Neurodisability, on May 3, 2003. Whenever I read about her dramatic 38-year-long struggle and her ultimate inner final victory over paralysis I am also reminded of the Blessed Lucy of Narnia who lived 500 years ago. And of her own spiritual triumph over the cruel and unjust condemnation to 39 years of solitary confinement.

Re: re: Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

PostPosted: 01 Nov 2006, 01:23
by Reep
Born in Carlisle, near Scotland, on November 2 ...

Just a Thought of the Day.
Tomorrow is Lucy Barfield's Birthday. Her Godfather was born on November 29th. And November Sixteenth is the Feast of Blessed Lucy of Narnia.
The Christians among us believe all three never died! :smile:

16 November Beata Lucia

PostPosted: 08 Nov 2006, 08:55
by fgiusepp
16 November Beata Lucia
we are near to the day dedicated to the Blessed Lucy from Narni in Italy
I like send you a first immages and a link
http://www.narnia.it/lucia_eu.htm

Image

Re: 16 November Beata Lucia

PostPosted: 12 Nov 2006, 00:41
by Reep
.
fgiusepp wrote: I like send you a first immages and a link
http://www.narnia.it/lucia_eu.htm

Thank you fgiusepp! As I am certain you already know there is also a brief biography of Blessed Lucy written by the British novelist Lady Georgiana Fullerton (1812-1885) and published as 20 pages (139-158) of her book "The Life of St. Frances of Rome". These 20 pages can easily be found as a "Catholic-Forum Abstract" at http://www.catholic-forum.com/Saints/stl2r001.htm .

But if you would like to see and may be even to read her original text instead, you can also find it - precisely reproduced - at "Early Canadiana Online" as "The life of St. Frances of Rome, of blessed Lucy of Narni, etc": http://www.canadiana.org/ECO/mtq?doc=33385 .

The whole book has 271 pages (54+11+206). But just enter "View page 139" where you see "View Page: Technical Data Sheet". You may notice there that the last name of Lucy is misspelled, but on the whole it is an absorbing story.

16 November Blessed Lucy

PostPosted: 13 Nov 2006, 10:19
by fgiusepp
we are near to the November 16 Blessed Lucy from Narni
Thanks also to Reep for the news about the english book written by the British novelist Lady Georgiana Fullerton .
We have also an italian version of the live of Lucia that you can find
at :
http://www.narnia.it/lucia1.htm

Blessed Lucy are also compared with the Lucy of the Chronicles of Narnia , because she can see this that the other peoples can not see.

Lucia can see " beyond the Wardrobe" and she is also the first to see
Aslan, in prince Caspian and show the way, to her Brothers and sisters, for the Narnia's Kingdom.

Blessed Lucy can also has the stigmate , see also
Image

The Dedication

PostPosted: 13 Dec 2006, 02:47
by Reep
.
There is a little mystery concerning the beautiful dedication of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" which C.S. Lewis wrote for Lucy Barfield. WHEN was this dedication written? "My dear Lucy, I wrote this story for you..." It is quite clear that the dedication is reaching Lucy's hands together with the book. HOWEVER - as the dedication continues - this book, though evidently already written - is still not printed and not bound. How is this possible? What is happening? And if this IS happening - then when; what is the exact date?

The First Book of the Chronicles was printed, bound and ready to be sold on October 16, 1950. It seems that Lucy received and read its manuscript - together with her parents and her little brother Jeffrey - already by the end of May 1949. This is when C.S. Lewis sent it to the Barfield family and received some comments from both Owen and Maud. And it is very interesting that Lucy then also wrote him. In his letter of June 4, 1949 Lewis is telling her mother: "I had a very nice letter from Lucy and will be thinking of her to-day. I also replied."

Both these letters were lost but I believe we can easily imagine what was in them. Lucy was probably quite overwhelmed by such a great and unexpected gift. And was telling her godfather that she did not "feel too old" for this book at all - on the contrary - that she understood and really loved it. And Lewis probably then just said to her how happy he was...

What do you think. I believe it is quite possible. Lucy Barfield was then thirteen years old. And I was very happy too when I found an image of her where she seems to be about that age. In another image she is with her little dog and seems about five or six; then there is also a picture of her with her mother and both brothers taken about 1950. Also of her - at about the same time - dancing in the garden; and then sitting alone ca. 1960.

Today is Lucy Barfield's Namesday. The feast of The Queen of Lights - of Saint Lucy of Syracuse; the Feastday of almost every Lucy in Sweden, Denmark, Italy and The World. It is also the 530th Birthday of the Blessed Lucy of Narnia, who arrived here on December 13, 1476.

I believe we all are probably invited to concelebrate.

"Lewis's letter to Lucy of May 1949"

PostPosted: 08 Mar 2007, 16:30
by Reep
Nobody responded. By now I was almost certain that nobody ever will. Probably nobody knew enough, or my very guess was too impossible to be considered seriously.

So I thougt. But yesterday I opened the Volume 20 of SEVEN, an Anglo-American literary magazine. On page 5, in a brief obituary of Lucy Barfield, Walter Hooper was writing about this dedication. "Lucy Barfield was delighted at being so honoured, and while the letters between them have not survived, what is one of the most moving dedications ever to grace a work of literature was probably taken from Lewis's letter to Lucy of May 1949". [May 1949!] "When The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was published on 16 October 1950, Lucy was a happy scholgirl of 15 who could not have foreseen how much the dedication would one day mean".

As I continued to read, the text seemed strangely familiar. After some search I found the post of carol of 4 June 2006 where she offers an excerpt from Paul F. Ford's "Companion to Narnia". Paul is telling there that Lucy "was four when Lewis began to write the book and thirteen when he resumed and finished it." And then he apparently begins to quote this very same obituary.

Here are Walter Hooper's exact original words. "In 1966 she [Lucy] was diagnosed as having Multiple Sclerosis, and by the mid-70s she was a patient in the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital. It was there she met Bevan Rake (1921-90). They were married in 1978 and Lucy enjoyed a few years of home-life. By the time Bevan died in 1990, Lucy's condition had deteriorated and she returned to hospital. During that time she told me how much the dedication in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe meant to her. "What I could not do for myself," she said, "the dedication did for me. My godfather gave me a greater gift than he could have imagined."

"As every creature comfort was taken from her, and she had lost her sight, Lucy's faith in God grew and blessed not only her, but also those who knew her. Owen Barfield, touched by her humility, said many times,
"I could go down on my knees before my daughter." During the last seven years of her life in the Royal Hospital for Neurodisability in London, her brother Jeffrey - to whom Lewis dedicated The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - read her the Chronicles of Narnia. She died at the Royal Hospital on 3 May 2003."
[Walter Hooper, Lucy Barfield (1935-2003). In SEVEN: An Anglo-American Literary Review, Volume 20, 2003, p.5.]

Re: Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

PostPosted: 11 Apr 2007, 19:48
by spareoom
The real "Lucy Pevensie" is not Lucy Barfield,

In telegraph news, the real Lucy is a girl called Jill Freud (C.S.Lewis referred to her as June, in his letters)

PostPosted: 12 Apr 2007, 07:43
by carol
There are two Lucys, really; the one the dedication is for, and the girl whose energy and enthusiasm originally inspired the character. I assume Lewis named the character after his god-daughter as part of his dedication "gift".