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Lucy Barfield and The Chronicles of Narnia

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Lucy Barfield and The Chronicles of Narnia

Postby Lucius » Apr 29, 2010 2:00 pm

Next Monday, 2010 May 3rd, it will be seven years since Lucy Barfield died. Most of us know about her very little and some of us may be wonderng what kind of a person she was. And what did her Goodfather, Jack or C.S. Lewis, really know and think about her - to make her such a gift which took him many years to complete.

There is a question which comes back to my mind again and again. Would there be, would we still have The Chronicles of Narnia had there been no Lucy Barfield? In The Lion and the Witch her Goodfather is saying to her: "I wrote this story for you". Could he also have written it for someone else? Could he have said what he said to her - in some other words - to anybody else? In a certain way he also includes all other Narnia books as well - which originally were not planned but which, once The Lion and the Witch was finished, simply followed.

Never was I able to come to a satisfactory and final answer. So I finally decided to try to ask others first. What do you think? And why?
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Re: Lucy Barfield and The Chronicles of Narnia

Postby meldred » Apr 29, 2010 10:55 pm

Thanks Lucius for bringing this topic back annually!

Since this is totally my opinion, I would say no, Lewis probably would not have written The Chronicles of Narnia as we know it without Lucy Barfield. While it is true, that as Lucy got older, Lewis did not get to see much of his God-daughter, he did see her more often when she was younger and I believe was inspired by her. Why else would you dedicate a book to someone and name one of the primary characters after them? Lewis and later Gresham, however, both indicated that while the character of Lucy was named after Lucy Barfield, Lucy Pevensie did not necessarily share all the same personality traits. They did both apparently share the same childlike faith.

POSTED ON NARNIAWEB - April 27, 2006
While I've never met the real "Lucy", millions of people like me feel they have gotten to know a little of who she was through her Godfather and his timeless tale. I wrote this poem in remembrance of and dedicated to Lucy Barfield.

ON ASLAN'S BREATH

On Aslan's breath I rise
from this bod without a care
far beyond terrestrial skies.
Passing nobles and creatures fair,
I dream of those faithful eyes.

Over islands that hath seen no feet,
my path goes where no ships run,
past the land where old stars greet.
I head toward the rising sun,
for to taste the water sweet.

Tho good my life has been to me,
of that life's fringe
there is naught to envy.
I face the world's edge
across the Silver Sea.

From afar I see the shore's sand
past Narnia's gates;
my journey to eastern land
There my maker awaits;
the Lion and the Lamb.
Lost in the woods and weary he looked into the night sky and a voice spoke to him, "As long as the moon shines, I will be with you. The day the moon no longer shines, you will be with Me."
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Re: Lucy Barfield and The Chronicles of Narnia

Postby Liberty Hoffman » Apr 30, 2010 12:59 pm

^^ that is a beautiful poem meldred!


I have a firm belief that if not for Lucy Barfield, we would have no Narnia! so thank God that she was in Lewis' life for him to be inspired to write the beloved Narnia tales! :)
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Re: Lucy Barfield and The Chronicles of Narnia

Postby coracle » Apr 30, 2010 2:41 pm

It sounds lovely, but I have to disagree.Lewis originally had a boy as the youngest child - in his first draft of the opening, the child was called Peter!

Secondly, it's well documented that the character was based on one of the girl evacuees who stayed in his home during the war. Her name was not Lucy (I can't find it right now, but I believe she became an actress), and he gave the character his god-daughter's name deliberately, dedicating the story to her at a time when he realised she was already a bit too old to appreciate it as a child - he'd begun it when she was four, and finished it when she was thirteen.

Without Lucy Barfield, the youngest Pevensie would have had a different name but would have been the same lovely girl.
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Re: Lucy Barfield and The Chronicles of Narnia

Postby DamselJillPole » May 01, 2010 1:39 am

Great job on the poem Meldred! :ymapplause:

In my opinion I think if Lucy didn't exist we still would of had something of Narnia but not the loving character of Lucy which is what I feel CS Lewis based her off of in the first place. It would only be like Peter, Susan and Edmund, not a fourth.
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Re: Lucy Barfield and The Chronicles of Narnia

Postby Lion's Emblem » May 01, 2010 9:13 pm

You took the words right out of mouth coracle. I think the reason Lewis dedicates LWW to Lucy Barfield, is not because he created the whole story after her (name reference and such), but as a children's book to enjoy (even though when he's done writing the book, she may be grown up and have to take it down from the shelf). Let's remember that C.S. Lewis wanted to write children's books because the books being written at that time were ones that Lewis himself didn't want to read.

C.S. Lewis ran through many story concepts before writing the final version. So, I don't quite think that the LWW story we know today would be much different had there been no Lucy Barfield. I agree with coracle that the name of Lucy'scharacter would probably be different, but should would have the same characteristics and personality. Almost all the chronicles (except for one I believe) have dedications to people Lewis loved and cared about, so I believe that we would still have the Chronicles of Narnia today as long as Lewis was there to write them.
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Re: Lucy Barfield and The Chronicles of Narnia

Postby DOECOG » May 06, 2010 11:11 pm

coracle wrote:It sounds lovely, but I have to disagree.Lewis originally had a boy as the youngest child - in his first draft of the opening, the child was called Peter!.


The original names for the children were Ann, Martin, Rose, and Peter. Peter was the youngest in this version and I think he was supposed to be the one who discover Narnia.

coracle wrote:Secondly, it's well documented that the character was based on one of the girl evacuees who stayed in his home during the war. Her name was not Lucy (I can't find it right now, but I believe she became an actress),.



Lucy was based off of an evacuee girl named Jill (I guess this was before he decided to make a character named Jill).
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Re: Lucy Barfield and The Chronicles of Narnia

Postby DamselJillPole » May 07, 2010 12:59 pm

Yes exactly what DOECOG said,

I think we would still have Narnia just different characters if Lucy Barfield had nothing to do with it ;)
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Re: Lucy Barfield and The Chronicles of Narnia

Postby Sven » May 15, 2010 5:40 am

coracle wrote:Secondly, it's well documented that the character was based on one of the girl evacuees who stayed in his home during the war. Her name was not Lucy (I can't find it right now, but I believe she became an actress)...



June 'Jill' Flewett Freud, called Jill by everyone except Warnie Lewis, who called her 'Junebug'. When she became an actress, she went by the stage name Jill Raymond, and she eventually married Clement Freud, one of Sigmund Freud's grandsons.
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June Flewett

Postby Lucius » May 17, 2010 5:15 pm

coracle wrote:It is well documented that the character was based on one of the girl evacuees who stayed in his home during the war. Her name was not Lucy [but June Flewett], and he gave the character his god-daughter's name deliberately, dedicating the story to her at a time when he realised she was already a bit too old to appreciate it as a child - he'd begun it when she was four, and finished it when she was thirteen.
Without Lucy Barfield, the youngest Pevensie would have had a different name but would have been the same lovely girl.

Dear coracle, could you help me to find this documentation?
Yes, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" (LWW) was written between September 1939 and the end of March 1949. On 2 September 1939 the first three London girls (Margaret, Mary and the 17 years old Katherine) came to live at Lewis' house; on 2 November 1939 Lucy Barfield was 4 years old. C.S. Lewis sent her the completed LWW in May of 1949 and told her simply "but with unutterable love": I wrote this story for you.
He had never met June or Jill Flewett before she was fourteen.

The documentation you speak about may be describing the character differences of Lucy Barfield and the eight years older June Flewett very carefully. And then comparing each of them to Lucy Pevensie.
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Lucy Barfield and June Flewett continued

Postby Lucius » Jun 01, 2010 8:45 am

I wrote: Dear coracle, could you help me to find this documentation?

Sending the completed "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" C,S. Lewis wrote in May 1949: "My dear Lucy, I wrote this story for you". Lucy responded. On 4 June 1949 Lewis wrote to her mother: "I had a very nice letter from Lucy and will be thinking of her to-day".

Lucy Barfield was a very energetic, friendly, generous and happy child; disciplined and spiritual. From an early age she trained hard to be a ballet dancer, showed a marked musical taste and ability, and later taught dance and music herself. She was six years old when the fourteen year old June Flewett arrived at the Kilns and then lived with Mrs Janie Moore, Jack Lewis and his brother Warnie until she was eighteen (1942-46).

June loved every one of them, especially Jack; selflessly helped them and remained their lifelong friend. But I just cannot see the eight year old Lucy Pevensie of the Chronicles being based or modelled on a fourteen to eighteen year old girl. June Flewett also seems to have never had any interest in children stories - in the words of Lewis - "she was clearly already to old for fairy tales". When in 1950 Lewis sent her the published copy of LWW, June managed to read it only once. And then she never picked it up again, at least not until 2005; three years after Douglas Gresham had suddenly surprised her with his statement: "You are the prototype for Lucy!" Was this his personal opinion? Or did he base this statement on some well researched article or book? Or did someone just simply tell him so?

Lucy Barfield read and listened to the Chronicles many times; as long as she lived. Her brother Geoffrey Barfield may be reading his to him dedicated copy of "The Voyage on the Dawn Threader" even right now! (how come nobody ever thinks of him?)
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Re: Lucy Barfield and The Chronicles of Narnia

Postby Pepper Darcy » Jun 25, 2010 7:46 am

at least, if there was a Narnia and no Lucy Barfield, maybe there would be no *Lucy*...?

But I'm mostly with the rest of you, there might not have been a Narnia... :(( or if there was, maybe it would have been so completely different and no the Narnia we know and love. I always found the dedication to 'Lucy Barfield' intriguing and I always wondered *who* she was since she had the same first name as Lucy Pevensie
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Two Birthdays

Postby Lucius » Oct 13, 2010 6:05 pm

We soon will be passing two birthdays and I just thought we might feel invited to stop briefly and celebrate. At least in our hearts.

This Saturday is the Birthday of Narnia. Sixty years ago, on 16 October 1950, Geoffrey Bles in London published The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Until that day Narnia was only a word nobody had ever heard, the name of a magical kingdom nobody knew. Today, the Chronicles of Narnia, in almost fifty languages, have already passed 100 million mark of copies in print.

And seventy-five years ago - on 2 November 1935 - Lucy Barfield was born.
For whom her Godfather C.S. Lewis wrote this book and who had also become its very first owner - receiving it from him long before it was even printed and bound.
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Re: Lucy Barfield and The Chronicles of Narnia

Postby aragorn2 » Oct 19, 2010 3:37 pm

I think there would be some kind of stories similar to the Chronicles, but I'm not sure
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Re: Lucy Barfield and The Chronicles of Narnia

Postby Valiant » Oct 23, 2010 12:17 pm

I think Lewis wrote the Chronicles and then dedicated them to Lucy. He might have had her in mind though and named book Lucy after her while writing LWW.

We would probably still have the chronicles, but its nice that he dedicated the book to her. :)
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