Tolkien and Barfield have been brought by destiny into one of the most famous literary circles of the twentieth century. And no two authors could be said to be so startlingly different, both psychologically and artistically. This work takes its departure from the comparison of their most imaginative literature.
What Tolkien weaves within his Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings emerges as a specific cosmology linked to the West as it continued the inheritance of the Mysteries of Atlantis and took new forms in the westernmost part of Europe. Tolkien shows in the stamp of his personality the connection to these Great Mysteries. He carries in his soul the desire, an almost lifelong obsession, of transmitting and translating these Mysteries of the past into the present.
Barfield is deeply immersed in the culture of his time and everything that the English-speaking West has best to offer. His most artistic imaginations (chiefly The Silver Trumpet and The Rose on the Ash-Heap), as the rest of his work, show us where the future of the West lies. Barfield makes it abundantly clear how only by turning to the legacy and promise of spiritual science can the West renew and deepen its cultural impulse. But this is no one-way street; rather a cross-pollination and mutual strengthening of West and Central Europe.
Here are two individuals who pursued similar, or parallel aims in diametrically polar ways. Both Tolkien and Barfield expressed the reality of the cosmic Christ in our time, but their views could not have been any more different, and yet complementary. Both perspectives combined are crucial for an understanding of the Christ being in our time.