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Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

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Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

Postby Reep » 27 May 2006, 01:55

Millions of readers of The Chronicles are familiar with the names of
Lucy Barfield and of Lucy Pevensie. Why is it so hard to find information
about the first one of them? To whom not only The Lion, the Witch and the
Wardrobe is dedicated but who, very likely, even gave to the the second one
her name? And who actually was a real living girl - the god-daughter of C.
S. Lewis himself?

Maybe I just don't have enough experience with computers. This is why
this took me quite a while. What almost everybody else will be able to find,
to verify and to expand easily (I am enclosing my sources below)

"About 15 years after 16 October 1950, when the book was published,
sadly, Lucy Barfield was affected by multiple sclerosis that left her
bedridden and unable to feed herself. But being named in the book touched
her life in ways that Jack Lewis could not have imagined.

For the rest of her life, Lucy received letters from children. Some,
believing she was Lucy Pevensie, asked her about Narnia. Others knew she was
ill and just wrote to say hello. "What a wonderful oasis of pleasure I have
in this pretty terrible world, being recognized as Lucy," she once said.

Lucy Barfield was born on November 2, 1935 and died on May 3, 2003. Her
father Owen Barfield, one of the closest friends of C. S. Lewis, died on
December 14, 1997 at age 99. "Alexander Barfield, his wife and son Owen
were present; as was Jeffrey Barfield. Flowers for the family were taken
afterwards to Lucy Barfield, who is severely crippled" said her father's
funeral report.

Alexander, her elder brother, was born 30 January 1928 and is living in
London. Her younger brother Jeffrey, to whom on 15 September 1952 C.S.
Lewis dedicated "The Voyage of the Dawn Threader", was born in London
6 June 1940 and now lives in Gravesend, about 25 miles east."

I know this is very little; it certainly was helpful to me but not
quite enough. Did she really have to spend the entire 37 or 38 years of her
life in bed? In some hospital or hospitals or at her parents home? And had
she to remain forever being fed?... How did she feel; what did she say? Are
there, maybe, even some members of this forum who knew her and visited
her? Who would be able to find and to publish her picture? Or who
know some other related websites or links.

Please. I would deeply appreciate such information. And I believe it
might be of value to many of us: to help us love.

http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID ... 6523745307
http://www.owenbarfield.com/Barfield_Re ... Death.html
Last edited by Reep on 01 Jun 2006, 00:55, edited 1 time in total.
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re: Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

Postby Ticket2theMoon » 27 May 2006, 22:20

Thanks for sharing your findinds, though, that's really fascinating. I think it's awesome that children not only wrote to her, but provided an important source of relief for her. I'll see what I can find, I love a research challenge.
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It is with words as with sunbeams, the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn. --Robert Southey (1774-1843)

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re: Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

Postby Puddleglee » 30 May 2006, 09:32

I had no idea of how the 'real' Lucy's life turned out. How sad - and yet how much joy there was for her, too.
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re: Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

Postby carol » 30 May 2006, 10:35

Reep, thanks for posting that info. Yes, Lucy Barfield gave the character her name - although it wasn't the "second" book, but the first - since Jack wrote this book first and it was the first publised.... in fact he had no thought of a series at that time.(The Magician's Nephew wasn't published until near the end of the series - it's a preque).
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re: Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

Postby Ticket2theMoon » 01 Jun 2006, 03:06

Okay, I've looked everywhere and I tried everything, on the web at least, and couldn't find anything more than you did. Even Wikipedia failed me this time. Alas. I may have to turn my search to actual books! Do people still do research at libraries these days?
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It is with words as with sunbeams, the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn. --Robert Southey (1774-1843)

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re: Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

Postby carol » 01 Jun 2006, 07:18

Yes, Tickettotthemoon.... and here at Into The Wardrobe we often encourage it!! :lol:
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re: Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

Postby Sven » 01 Jun 2006, 19:58

Some do, some do.
Rat! he found breath to whisper, shaking. Are you afraid?
Afraid? murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love.
Afraid! Of Him? O, never, never! And yet -- and yet -- O, Mole, I am afraid!
Then the two animals, crouching to the earth, bowed their heads and did worship.
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re: Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

Postby Ticket2theMoon » 02 Jun 2006, 00:36

Oh, heavens, I know. :grin: Just in case there was any doubt, I was kidding. I used to be a librarian for goodness sake. :read:
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It is with words as with sunbeams, the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn. --Robert Southey (1774-1843)

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re: Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

Postby carol » 02 Jun 2006, 07:03

Too truuuu, tooo truuuu, we kneeew, we kneeew!

What a to-dooo, we're laughing with youuuuu.

:wink: [your friendly Parliament of Owls]
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re: Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

Postby Ticket2theMoon » 03 Jun 2006, 03:31

Whoooooo, whooooooooo...
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Lucy Barfield Research

Postby Reep » 04 Jun 2006, 00:26

Ticket2theMoon wrote:Okay, I've looked everywhere and I tried everything, on the web at least, and couldn't find anything more than you did. Even Wikipedia failed me this time. Alas. I may have to turn my search to actual books!
Do people still do research at libraries these days?

Dear Ticket2theMoon - my research is limited to what I can do at home. The
web usually is my only source. Certainly I can place library book requests,
but until they arrive it often takes a quite a while (sometimes forever! :smile: ).
And also I must know precisely which book or books I wish to order - the
bibliographies of C.S. Lewis and Owen Barfield seem never end.

This is why I joined "Into the Wardrobe". And for the time being - may be
you could suggest also some other internet addresses where I could turn for
help? "By a pure accident" (or, maybe, moved by the Spirit) a couple days
ago I discovered "The Dancing Lawn". And there I found that Lucy,
apparently, was well enough to maintain an extensive lifelong
correspondence. "Up to the end she enjoyed ansvering the stacks of mail that
came in from curious fans of Narnia"*. Was she able to write some of those
answers herself? O did she - most probably - dictate them? Who was her
secretary; were any of those letters already published?

And I also found out that "there is a short, warm write up about Lucy
Barfield in 'The Companion to Narnia' by Paul Ford". Where Paul Ford is
quoting from the 'Past Watchful Dragons' by Walter Hooper.

Written in 1979? I just placed a library request on OhioLINK. We will see!

* http://narniafans.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5624
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re: Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

Postby carol » 04 Jun 2006, 04:47

I have copies of both "Past Watchful Dragons" and Paul Ford's "Companion to Narnia". I can quote from both of them for you. Paul Ford is a member here, and often replies with helpful quotes from his book.

The info and links on Into The Wardrobe are generally well documented and reliable. It is recommended as the best Lewis site on the Net.
It's unusual for people not to be able to find what they're looking for.
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re: Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

Postby carol » 04 Jun 2006, 06:35

Reep, I'm going to have to give you a less helpful answer than I expected. I have found the entry from Paul F. Ford's book, but having looked right through my copy of "Past Watchful Dragons" (paperback, Fount, 1980), I have not found any information there about Lucy Barfield. Your information (links quoted in your post that begins this thread) is probably the most complete available.

I've come to an important personal conclusion and would respectfully suggest this to other inquirers:
I think that we must accept that Miss Barfield (Mrs Rake) was a private person who lived a quiet life, and little was written about her. Why should we question that? This lady had a debilitating condition for most of her life, and relied on other people for many things. Let's not complain because her life has remained private; she blessed those who she knew, and gave her name to one of our favourite characters. Why should we expect to find lots of information about her on the Internet? - Carol


However, here is the text from Paul Ford:

DEDICATIONS, DEDICATEE(S)

Lewis’s particular affection for the children of some of his dear friends is the source of the dedications of the first six chronicles (LB has no dedication).
LWW is dedicated to Lucy Barfield (1935-2003), Lewis’s god-daughter and the adopted daughter of Owen and Maud Barfield, who was four when Lewis began to write the book and thirteen when he resumed and finished it. Lucy loved music and ballet and eventually taught music. In 1966 she was diagnosed as having multiple sclerosis. She married Bevan Rake and lived happily, although she was often hospitalised. When her husband died in 1990, her health deteriorated; she lived in the hospital for the rest of her life. During that time, she told Walter Hooper how much the dedication meant to her: “What I could not do for myself, the dedication did for me. My godfather gave me a greater gift than he could have imagined.”
Hooper wrote: 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.

[Paul F. Ford, Companion to Narnia, Fifth Edition, 2005, p 160.]
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re: Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

Postby Reep » 05 Jun 2006, 00:46

Dear carol - what a Pentecost Gift! I was overwhelmed and deeply touched when I opened the Wardrobe this morning. The message of Paul Ford not only is precisely what I was seeking for but it also keeps telling me more than I expected.

I can almost see "Our Dear Lucy", forever almost fifteen, in a cabin of the "Dawn Treader", on her last seven-year-voyage to Aslan's Land. And her little brother Jeffrey, who was ten as "her" book came out, now reading it to her... reading all seven books, "his own" included... to her and to himself again and again...

May she continue to bless us as she did bless those whom she knew!
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re: Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia

Postby Sven » 05 Jun 2006, 20:02

There are a couple of small things I can add. Lucy was an adopted daughter of the Barfields. When young she wanted to be a ballet dancer, later she decided to become a teacher, and eventually qualified as a teacher of music. She was employed as such for two years at a school for girls in Kent when the MS struck her.

Her brother Jeffery was a foster child of the Barfield's, and never formally adopted. His London mother was unable to provide for him, so the Barfields took him in, at first temporarily, then permanently. The only way the Barfields could afford to keep him was that Jack Lewis paid for his school fees. His birth name was Geoffrey Corbett, which is how VDT was originally dedicated (now it says Geoffrey Barfield). When he was 22, and established as a landscaper and evangelical preacher, he legally changed his name to Jeffery Barfield.
Rat! he found breath to whisper, shaking. Are you afraid?
Afraid? murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love.
Afraid! Of Him? O, never, never! And yet -- and yet -- O, Mole, I am afraid!
Then the two animals, crouching to the earth, bowed their heads and did worship.
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