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Northrop Frye and Others

University of Ottawa Press | Canadian Literature Collection

This book, based on extensive archival and historical work, identifies and brings to light additional and littlerecognized intellectual influences on Frye, and analyzes how they informed his thought. These are variously

major thinkers, sets of texts, and intellectual traditions: the Mahayana Sutras, Machiavelli, Rabelais, Boehme, Hegel, Coleridge, Carlyle, Mill, Jane Ellen Harrison and Elizabeth Fraser.

In each chapter, dedicated to Frye’s connection to a specific influence, Denham describes how Frye became acquainted with each, and how he interpreted and adapted certain ideas from them to help work out his own conceptual systems. Denham offers insights on Frye’s relationship with his historical and intellectual contexts, provides valuable additional context for understanding the work of one of the 20th century’s leading scholars of literature and culture.

Includes over 20 photos, tables and figures, as well as a chapter on Frye’s personal relationship with Elizabeth Fraser.



are brilliant books. I read Northrop Frye

and Others in the summer and just picked up the second installment this

week. I feel that you have really made a break into the open with these

two books. I am grateful for all of your work.


Robert D. Denham is John P. Fishwick Professor of English, Emeritus, at Roanoke College in Salem Virginia. He has devoted much of his professional life to writing about Northrop Frye and editing his work. He wrote and edited over twenty-five books on Frye, including eleven volumes of his Collected Works.

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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Northrop Frye and Others«

Leseprobe vom

Northrop Frye and Others

University of Ottawa Press | Canadian Literature Collection

Robert D. Denham pursues his quest to uncover

the links between Northrop Frye and writers and others

who directly influenced his thinking but about whom

he did not write an extensive commentary. 

The first chapter is about Frye’s reading of Patanjali,

the founder of the philosophy of Hindu yoga, while

the second, discusses cultural mythographer

Giambattista Vico, literary history and poetic language. 

The focus of Frye’s criticism was the verbal arts,

but he also had an abiding interest in both the visual

arts and music; hence Frye’s admiration of J.S. Bach.

The essay on Tolkien examines the tendency in literary

history to return from irony to myth, as well as the role

that Tolkien played in Frye’s fiction-writing fantasies. 

In subsequent chapters, Denham explores Frye’s

preference for romance and his critique of realism,

which run parallel to the views of Oscar Wilde, and their

strong shared convictions about the centripetal thrust

of art, and about criticism being as creative as literature.

Frye’s appreciation for Whitehead’s concept

of interpenetration in Science in the Modern World

became a key feature of Frye’s speculations about the

highest reaches of literature and religion. Frye is clearly

indebted to Martin Buber, particularly his influential

meditation I and Thou. Aristotle, an important influence

upon Frye, was partially filtered through R.S. Crane

and his The Languages of Criticism and the Structure

of Poetry. Finally, the relationship between Frye

and his Oxford tutor Edmund Blunden are explored,

while the last is an essay on Frye and M.H. Abrams

on how Frye’s critical project might be viewed

developed in Abrams’s The Mirror and the Lamp.

This book is published in English.


Robert D. Denham poursuit son examen d’écrivains et autres influences qui ont marqué l’éminent critique Northrop Frye, mais sur lesquels celui-ci n’avait pas consacré de réflexions très développées. 

Le premier chapitre porte sur la lecture que fait Frye de Patanjali, le fondateur de la philosophie du yoga hindou, et le deuxième, sur le mythographe culturel Giambattista Vico, l’histoire littéraire et le langage poétique. 

Frye s’intéressait aux arts visuels et à la musique et Denham approfondit l’influence de J.S. Bach sur Frye. Le chapitre sur Tolkien porte sur la tendance en histoire littéraire de passer de l’ironie au mythe, mais aussi sur l’ascendant de Tolkien sur la fiction fantaisiste de Frye. 

Dans les chapitres suivants, Denham explore la préférence de Frye pour le romantique et sa critique du réalisme, qui trouvent écho chez Oscar Wilde, de même que leur conviction, partagée, de l’importance de l’art, et de la critique comme étant aussi créative que la littérature. L’admiration de Frye pour le concept d’interpénétration présenté dans le Science in the Modern World de Whitehead est devenue un élément clé des réflexions de Frye sur la portée de la littérature et de la religion. 

Denham explore aussi le lien entre Frye et Martin Buber, dont la méditation I and Thou l’a beaucoup inspiré, et celui entre Frye et R.S. Crane, qui parle beaucoup d’Aristote dans son ouvrage The Languages of Criticism and the Structure of Poetry. Le chapitre 9 explore la relation entre Frye et son tuteur d’Oxford, Edmund Blunden, alors que le dernier chapitre porte sur Frye et M.H. Abrams, et notamment sur le projet critique de Frye compris à la lumière du cadre sur la théorie critique développé par Abrams dans The Mirror and the Lamp.

Ce livre est publié en anglais.


Robert D. Denham is John P. Fishwick Professor of English Emeritus at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. Before that he was Professor of English and Chair of the department at Emory & Henry College, and served as Director of English Programs and Director of the Association of Departments of English for the Modern Language Association in New York City.

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