Saturday, April 16, 2011

Frye III

The labels in this blog point to 23 posts which include Frye in some way.

Frye I contained a comprehensive introduction to Northrup Frye including a detailed personal biography and a short summary of his major works and influence in the field of Literary Criticism.

In Frye II I discussed several of Frye's volumes that I've found pertinent to my Blake studies.

Here is some additional material you may find of interest.
Jean O'Grady, the associate editor of the Collected Works of Northrop Frye project, offers a description of Northrup Frye as a human being in a speech she made at the University of Toronto, where Frye spent most of his life.

Fearful Symmetry set the tone of Frye's life as a literary critique. It led seamlessly to the principles of literary criticism; you might say that Fearful Symmetry was the particular case (for Blake), which led into the general case with Anatomy of Criticism.

In his last decade Frye (after teaching literature at Victoria College of the University of Toronto for 40 years) focused on a large book called The Bible and Literature in two Volumes; the first one, called The Great Code introduced me to the Bible case for what he called types. Types are the earliest occurrence of a metaphor or symbol, followed by antitypes as time goes on. For example Exodus is the type for Deliverance while Jesus' life was the antitype (cf Luke 9:27-36). Blake's mind of course was saturated with the Bible; it would be interesting to investigate what use he may have made with that metaphor, one of course of a great many that he used.

Steven Marx is a noted interpreter and critique of William Blake, where he teaches, at California Polytechnic University. He has written a good bit about William Blake, and Northrup Frye as well, ncluding Youth against Age. (Edmund Spence is the primary subject of this book , but it includes two chapters dealing with Blake.)

Marx's "Northrup Frye's Bible" concludes with this statement:

"In the introduction to Words With Power, Frye confides that "at the age of seventy five,discovery can only come from reversing one's direction, going upstream to one's source." (xxiv) In the course of this book, as he reverses direction from secularizing sacred scriptures to spiritualizing secular ones, his own language moves from the descriptive, the conceptual and the rhetorical to the language of proclamation and prophecy. This confirms a sense that he is returning to his early vocation as a preacher and also suggests that like the authors he prefers, in interpreting the Bible, Northrop Frye is remaking it as his own."

Thus it was also with Blake who went back to early ideas as his life concluded.

This blog (or a succession of blogs) appears to continue quite a number of
Professor Frye's addresses made here and there. Many of them involve interpretation of Blake's work.

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