Barfield and Lewis
C. S. Lewis
described Barfield as his "Second Friend."
While a "First
Friend" is, of course, an individual with whom one sees eye-eye to on
virtually all matters (Lewis's First Friend was Arthur Greeves), a Second Friend
is altogether different. In a memorable passage in Surprised
by Joy, Lewis offered an account of the nature of the "Second
the Second Friend is the man who disagrees with you about
everything. He is not so much the alter ego as the antiself. Of course
he shares your interests; otherwise he would not be your friend at all. But he
has approached them all at a different angle. He has read all the right books
but has got all the wrong things out of every one. It is as if he spoke your
language but mispronounced it. How can he be so nearly right and yet,
invariably, just not right? . . . When
you set out to correct his heresies, you find that he forsooth has decided to
correct yours! And then you go at it, hammer and tongs, far into the night,
night after night, or walking through fine country that neither give a glace
to, each learning the weight of the other's punches, and often more like
mutually respectful enemies than friends. Actually (though it never seems so
at the time) you modify one another's thought; out of this perpetual dogfight
a community of mind and a deep affection emerge. But I think he changed me a
good deal more than I him.
own First Friend was Cecil Harwood.