Considered by many to be Northrop Frye's magnum opus, The Great Code (1982) reflects a lifetime of thinking about the patterns and meanings of the Bible. In this new edition of The Great Code, Alvin A. Lee presents a corrected and fully annotated version of Frye's text, as well as a comprehensive introduction to help contextualize this important work and guide readers through its allusive passages. Lee's introduction provides a synoptic account of the role of the Bible in Frye's intellectual and spiritual odyssey, as well as a description of how The Great Code as a book came into existence, and an introductory critique of the shape and meaning of the book's argument.
The Great Code is culturally allusive to a high degree. It takes much of its inspiration from the Bible itself, including a profusion of biblical passages, but also from the author's extensive reading of a host of other texts from ancient times until the late twentieth century. Lee's extensive annotation illustrates, beyond question, that Frye's knowledge of the Bible and how it has worked in Western culture was at once profound and visionary. This new edition not only re-presents Frye's text in a clear, correct, and fully annotated form, it goes a long way in helping us understand the widespread scholarly and popular reception that met this extraordinary and in some ways revolutionary book and how it can still be richly rewarding for readers.