Biographies B






Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Prolific German composer, one of the greatest figures in the history of music.







Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
English philosopher and statesman and an influential figure in the development of modern science.








Leo Baker (1898-1986)
Oxford friend of C. S. Lewis; he introduced Owen Barfield to Lewis.









Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975)
Russian professor of literature, one of the most influential critics of the century; author of Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics (1929), Rabelais and His World (1966), The Dialogical Imagination: Four Essays (1975), and Speech Genres and Other Late Essays (1979).







James M. Baldwin
American psychologist.








Alexander Barfield






Arthur Barfield






Elizabeth Barfield






Harry Barfield
Owen Barfield's brother, a consultant on induction-heating and an expert on radio-wave propagation.






Jeffrey Barfield






Lucy Barfield






Maud Douie Barfield
Owen Barfield's wife (1923-1980). Before they married, she had been a dance researcher and teacher and a specialist in stage costumes, who had worked with Gordon Craig.






Roland Barthes (1915-80)
French writer and critic; his wide-ranging semiotic interpretations of literature, art, and culture were an influential force in structuralism and post- structuralism. His many books included Writing Degree Zero (1953), Mythologies (1957), On Racine (1963), S/Z (1970), The Pleasure of the Text (1973), and Roland Barthes (1977).







Jacques Barzun (1907- )
American humanist and scholar, author of such books as Race: A Study in Modern Superstition, Darwin, Marx, Wagner: Critique of a Heritage, Romanticism and the Modern Ego, The Teacher in America, Berlioz and the Romantic Century, The Energies of Art: Studies of Authors Classic and Modern, The Modern Researcher, The House of Intellect, Science the Glorious Entertainment, The Use and Abuse of Art, A Stroll with William James.






Walter Jackson Bate (1918-1999 )
American literary historian, author of such books as The Burden of the Past and the English Poet (1970) and Samuel Johnson (1978).






Gregory Bateson (1904-1980)
American anthropologist and cybernetic theorist, author of Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1973) and Mind and Nature (1978).






The Meeting of Dante with Beatrice, byHenry Holiday(British, 1839-1927)

The part-historical, part-mythic woman to whom Dante dedicated his love and his poetry.







Beaumont, Sir Francis (1584-1616) & Fletcher, John (1579-1623)
Prolific Renaissance playwrights, contemporaries of Shakespeare.






Ernest Becker (1925-74)
American anthropologist and social thinker, author of The Denial of Death (1973) and other books.






Samuel Beckett (1906-1989)
Irish-born (later a resident of France) "absurdist" playwright and novelist, author of Proust (1931), Murphy (1938), Molly (1951), Malone Dies (1951), Waiting for Godot (1953), Watt (1953), The Unnameable (1953), Krapp's Last Tape (1958), Endgame (1958), and Happy Days (1961). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969.






Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)
British "utilitarian" philosopher and economist.






Nicholai Berdyaev (1874-1948)
Russian Christian existentialist, author of The Meaning of the Creative Act and other books.






Thomas Berger (1924- )
American novelist, author of such books as Little Big Man and Vital Parts.






Henri Bergson (1859-1941)
Nobel Prize (in literature) winning French philosopher, author of Matter and Memory (1896; trans. 1911), Laughter (1900; trans. 1901), and Creative Evolution (1907; trans. 1911).






Bishop Berkeley (1685-1753)
Irish philosopher and clergyman, the founder of the modern school of idealism and author of such books as The Principles of Human Knowledge (1710).






Annie Besant (1847-1933)
A prominent member of the Theosophical Society. Her selection of Krishnamurti as the new avatar led to Rudolf Steiner's exit from the society and foundation of Anthroposophy.






John Betjeman (1906-84)
British poet, poet laureate (1972-84), and conservationist. Like Barfield, a graduate of Highgate School in North London.






Black Elk (1863-1950)
Oglala Sioux Holy Man, who told his life story (Black Elk Speaks) to John G. Neihardt.






William Blake (1757-1827)
Visionary British painter, engraver, and poet, author of Songs of Innocence (1789), The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790), Songs of Experience (1794).






Helena Blavatsky (1831-1891)
Russian spiritualist, founder of Theosophy.






Leonard Bloomfield (1887-1949)

American linguist and founder of structural linguistics.







Jacob Boehme (1575-1624)
German mystic.






Photo courtesy the Nobel Prize Website.

Niels Bohr (1885-1962)
Danish quantum physicist and Nobel Prize winner, one of the most important figures in the development of modern physics.






Thorlief Boman (1894- )
Norwegian scholar, author of Hebrew Thought Compared with Greek (1960).







Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)
German Protestant theologian. Though he was executed by Adolph Hitler, his Letters and Papers from Prison and his concept of a "religionless Christianity" gave impetus to the "God is dead" movement. 






Susan Bordo (1947-  )
Professor of Philosophy and Women's Studies and holder of the Otis A. Singletary Chair in the Humanities at the University of Kentucky. She is the author of The Flight to Objectivity: Essays on Cartesianism and Culture, Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body, and Twilight Zones: The Hidden Life of Cultural Images from Plato to O.J.






F. H. Bradley (1846-1924)
Absolute idealist British philosopher.






Franz Brentano (1838-1917)
German "phenomenological" philosopher, whose ideas greatly influenced Husserl. 






Jacob Bronowski  (1908-1974)
Polish born British-American mathematician, philosopher of science, and poet, author of Science and Human Values (1956).






Book cover courtesy University of Missouri Press.

Cleanth Brooks (1906-1994)
American literary critic, a seminal figure in the development of New Criticism.






Robert Brown (1773-1858)
British botanist, discoverer of Brownian Movement






Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682)
English physician and essayist, author of Religio Medici [1635?]. 






Pieter Brueghel, the Elder (1525?-1569)
Sixteenth Century Flemish painter.






Giordano Bruno (1548-1600)
Italian philosopher and poet, burned at the stake for his belief that the universe is infinite.






William Jennings Bryan (1860-1924)
American politician and orator, a frequent candidate for President of the United States, and a leader of the prosecution in the Scopes Monkey Trial.






Martin Buber (1878-1965)
Austrian-born philosopher (later a resident of Israel), author of such books as I and Thou (1923) and Pointing the Way (1957).






Richard Maurice Bucke (1837-1902)
British-born American physician, friend of Walt Whitman and author of the book
Cosmic Consciousness: A Study of the Evolution of the Human Mind ( 1901)






Buddha (563?-483? B.C.)
The name (meaning "enlightened one") given to Siddhartha Gautama, who, according to legend, was the son of a royal family whose search for an understanding of the nature of human suffering led to the development of the religion known as Buddhism.






John Bunyan (1620-88)
British minister and author, most famous for Pilgrim's Progress.






Titus Burckhardt (1906-84)
German-Swiss expert on the philosophia perennis, especially Sufism.






Kenneth Burke (1897-1993)
Controversial, unclassifiable American literary theorist and rhetorician, most famous for books like The Philosophy of Literary Form, The Grammar of Motives, and Language as Symbolic Action.






Lord Byron (1788-1824)
English Romantic poet and satirist.