Northrop Frye


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Herman Northrop "Norrie" Frye (July 14, 1912 – January 23, 1991) was a Canadian literary critic and literary theorist, considered one of the most influential of the 20th century.

Frye gained international fame with his first book, Fearful Symmetry (1947), which led to the reinterpretation of the poetry of William Blake. His lasting reputation rests principally on the theory of... more »

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  • ''It is of the essence of imaginative culture that it transcends the limits both of the naturally possible and of the morally acceptable.''
    Northrop Frye (b. 1912), Canadian literary critic. "Anagogic Phase: Symbol as Monad," Anatomy of Criticism (1957).
  • Culture's essential service to a religion is to destroy intellectual idolatry, the recurrent tendency in religion to replace the object of its worship with its present understanding and forms of appro...
    Northrop Frye (b. 1912), Canadian literary critic. "Anagogic Phase: Symbol as Monad," Anatomy of Criticism, Second Essay (1957).
  • ''Between religion's "this is" and poetry's "but suppose this is," there must always be some kind of tension, until the possible and the actual meet at infinity.''
    Northrop Frye (b. 1912), Canadian literary critic. "Anagogic Phase: Symbol as Monad," second essay, Anatomy of Criticism (1957).
  • ''Nature is inside art as its content, not outside as its model.''
    Northrop Frye (b. 1912), Canadian literary critic. Quoted in Stephen Vizinczey, Truth and Lies in Literature, "Rules of the Game" (1986). Fables of Id...
  • Just as a new scientific discovery manifests something that was already latent in the order of nature, and at the same time is logically related to the total structure of the existing science, so the ...
    Northrop Frye (b. 1912), Canadian literary critic. "Mythical Phase: Symbol as Archetype," second essay, Anatomy of Criticism (1957).
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