Northrop Frye on Literature and Society, 1936-1989: Unpublished Papers

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University of Toronto Press, 2002 - Literary Collections - 420 pages
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Drawn from previously unpublished essays, talks, reviews and papers, this volume of Northrop Frye's collected works spans some fifty years of his long writing career. The earliest item is a paper on The Canterbury Tales dating from Frye's student days at Oxford. The latest was written in 1989, on the occasion of his receiving his thirty-sixth honorary degree from the University of Bologna.

The center-piece of the collection is Frye's lengthy and ambitious essay, "Rencontre." Intended as an introduction to a never-published anthology of English literature, it is unique in Frye's oeuvre, being the only example of a sustained, continuous encounter with an entire literary tradition. "Rencontre" is a masterwork in its own right. Other important essays include: "Shakespeare and the Comedy of Humours," "The Literary Meaning of 'Archetype,'" and "Blake's Jerusalem."

Frye was a profound and original thinker whose stature has not yet been fully realized. The writings collected here not only exemplify his extraordinary mind and elegant prose style - they show a far-sightedness and range that has not been seen before.


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Chaucers Canterbury Tales
George Orwell
The Literary Meaning of Archetype
The Present Condition of the World
Leisure and Boredom
Criticism and Society
Articulate English
Reviews of Television Programs for
Introduction to the Second Volume of Harold Inniss
William Butler Yeats
Alessandro Manzoni The Betrothed and Par Lagerkvist Barabbas
The Basis of Culture
Acadia University
University of Bologna

Tradition and Change in the Theory of Criticism
The Social Uses of Literature
Canadian Identity and Cultural Regionalism

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About the author (2002)

Herman Northrop Frye was born in 1912 in Quebec, Canada. His mother educated him at home until the fourth grade. After graduating from the University of Toronto, he studied theology at Emmanuel College for several years and actually worked as a pastor before deciding he preferred the academic life. He eventually obtained his master's degree from Oxford, and taught English at the University of Toronto for more than four decades. Frye's first two books, Fearful Symmetry (1947) and Anatomy of Criticism (1957) set forth the influential literary principles upon which he continued to elaborate in his numerous later works. These include Fables of Identity: Studies in Poetic Mythology, The Well-Tempered Critic, and The Great Code: The Bible and Literature. Frye died in 1991.

Robert D. Denham is the John P. Fishwick Professor of English Emeritus at Roanoke College.

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