Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays

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Princeton University Press, 1957 - Criticism - 383 pages
4 Reviews
"This book consists of 'essays,' in the word's original sense of a trial or incomplete attempt, on the possibility of a synoptic view of the scope, theory, principles, and techniques of literary criticism. The primary aim of the book is to give my reasons for believing in such a synoptic view; its secondary aim is to provide a tentative version of it which will make enough sense to convince my readers that a view, of the kind that I outline, is attainable. The gaps in the subject as treated here are too enormous for the book ever to be regarded as presenting my system, or even my theory. It is to be regarded rather as an interconnected group of suggestions which it is hoped will be of some practical use to critics and students of literature."--Introduction, page 3.

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User Review  - jsburbidge - LibraryThing

This is a massively well-informed, highly readable work. Frye intended to follow in the footsteps of Aristotle's Poetics and expand its coverage of tragedy to cover all the major forms of (Western ... Read full review

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User Review  - stillatim - LibraryThing

Well, this is pretty dense in a way that books usually aren't these days. Not dense in a Frenchified theory way, and not dense in a flowery language kind of way. Just conceptually dense. Which is fine ... Read full review

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About the author (1957)

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.

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