Bio of Northrup Frye
Early life and education
Frye was born in Sherbrooke, Quebec but raised in Moncton, New Brunswick. He was the third child of Herman Edward Frye and Catherine Maud Howard. His much older brother, Howard, died in World War 1 and he had a sister, Vera. Frye went to Toronto to compete in a national typing contest in 1929. He studied for his undergraduate degree at Victoria College in the University of Toronto. He then studied theology at Emmanuel College (which, like Victoria College, is a constituent part of the University of Toronto). After a brief stint as a student minister inSaskatchewan, he was ordained to the ministry of the United Church of Canada. He then studied at Merton College, Oxford, before returning to Victoria College, where he spent the remainder of his professional career. (This from Wikipedia)
A professor at Cal Poly has written very insightful material about the
subject of this post.
Frye may have finished Fearful Symmetry at Oxford, but he also
broadened his Subject from Blake to 1) English Literature, then
2) Literature Criticism; His The Anatomy of Criticism made him
After teaching at McGill for about forty years he came forth with
two volumes, written during two decades subsequently about
The Bible and Literature:
The Great Code (1982) and
Words with Power ((1990)
(I eagerly waited for the publication of both works.)
Frye had learned to study (and interpret) the Bible the way Blake
had done, not for any literal truth but for meaning. The Bible
means various things to various people, which is to say that it's
poetry--every word of it. (You're certainly entitled to disagree.)
In summary you might say that Frye was a master interpreter of
William Blake, and of the Bible. Or you might say that Blake has
taught many of his grateful students how to read the Bible, with
heightened interest rather than with dull duty.
One of the things I found of great interest in The Great Code was Frye's
study of types. Most literate people have some acquaintance with the
meaning of archetypes, but Frye had a special meaning for types,
particularly in his study of the Bible.
You might say that a type is something that may be used later, called an
antitype. The antitype may become a type if it's used by something else.
Moses is a type, David his antitype. David is a type of Jesus, etc.
Becoming aware of relationships of that sort will immeasurably raise
your understanding and love of the Bible.