Monday, September 22, 2014

Blake and Frye

Although Northrup Frye was not primarily a Blake scholar, he is considered by many 
people the father of modern Blake scholars.
Frye was primarily famous, not for Fearful Symmetry, but for Anatomy of Criticism

Born in Quebec in 1912, he studied at University of Toronto, presumably English Literature. 
After graduation he then studied theology at Emmanuel College, and in due course was ordained as a minister of the United Church of Canada

He went to Oxford and studied at Merton College.

Merton College

 Returning to Victoria College he spent the remainder of his professional career.
Frye's first book, a thesis, Fearful Symmetry was published by Princeton Press in 1947.
The second, that made him famous, named Analysis of Criticism, was published at
Princeton in 1957.

He wrote and published voluminously including much about Blake.
In the ten years before his death he wrote a two volume masterpiece, 'The Bible and Literature;
close study of these two books ('The Great Code' and 'Words with Power') has been
enormously important in my attempt to understand the myth, the words, and the meaning of William Blake.
To understand a large piece of  literature it's important to organize it in some way;
one organizing principle that I learned from Frye's 'Great Code' was 'types':
The first occurrence is the type and later ones are antitypes:
Abraham was a type; Jesus could be considered an antitype....and so forth;
a type may have an antitype; and an antitype may have its own antitype, etc.

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