Just before the new year, I published a blog piece briefly reviewing and explaining some of my favourite books which I read in 2017. I have decided to follow that post up with this post: three thinkers you must “check-out” in 2018.
My obsession with JRR Tolkien is what originally lead me to the Inklings, and thus to Owen Barfield, one of the groups most respected thinkers. Owen Barfield was an author, poet and Philosopher, as well as a Professor at Oxford University. During his Undergraduate years at Oxford, he became close friends with C.S. Lewis, who later went on to dedicate the first of his Narnia books to Barfield’s daughter, Lucy, who was also Lewis’ goddaughter.
Barfield specialised – albeit somewhat controversially – in consciousness, the power of imagination and anti-reductionism. His work is, by no means, an easy read. Matters of consciousness are never easy, to put it lightly. However, if you really want to put your brain to the test, and learn about a truly classical thinker, Owen Barfield might be the man for you in 2018.
Books I recommend from Owen Barfield: Saving The Appearances: A Study in Idolatry. Poetic Diction. Romanticism Comes of Age.
I don’t think I’ve ever come across a writer who could be so serious, yet so witty and funny at the same time. Chesterton was certainly a one of a kind writer, specialising in Theology and Philosophy – he was a famous thorn in the side of HG Wells. You will, however, have to take Chesterton with a pinch of salt. He was a product of the late 19th and early 20th Century, and some of his political views and choice of words are a reminder of that.
Books I recommend from GK Chesterton: The Everlasting Man.
I briefly mentioned Solzhenitsyn in my 2017 book recommendations. Solzhenitsyn was a truly classical thinker; a staunch critic of the Soviet Union and Marxism following his imprisonment in one of Stalin’s infamous gulags. Solzhenitsyn’s style of thought and writing can only be described as brutally clinical, often going into important and gritty details. He was also a great critic of modern society, but his criticisms were far from the usual political objections, and he often wrote about the deep moral underpinnings of society (or the decline of that underpinning, to be more accurate).
Books I recommend from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Gulag Archipelago. Cancer Ward. One Day in The Life of Ivan.