The "third Book" Notebooks of Northrop Frye, 1964-1972: The Critical Comedy
In the early 1960s, Northrop Frye began keeping notebooks with the aim of creating a critical epic that he referred to as the 'Third Book', a project intended as his third major work following Fearful Symmetry and Anatomy of Criticism. As described by Michael Dolzani, Frye's ambition for the 'Third Book' was for it to become no less than a "symbolic guide to the entire universe". The work he envisioned contemplated the ways in which myth and metaphor are the keys to all verbal structures: how they reach beyond the hypothetical realm of literature to inform, organize, and control historical, conceptual, political, and perhaps scientific thought.
Although ultimately abandoned, the 'Third Book' remains both an essential component of the larger Collected Works of Northrop Frye and an intriguing text in its own right. Michael Dolzani provides an eloquent introduction that adds an essential unifying frame to the fragmented and complex critical musings which comprise this enormous volume of work. Further, he has incorporated much useful background material and cross-referencing, enhancing the value of this volume as an indispensable research tool.