Northrop Frye


Northrop Frye Quotes

  • ''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).
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  • ''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 approach to that object.''
    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 Identity (1963).
  • ''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 new poem manifests something that was already latent in the order of words.''
    Northrop Frye (b. 1912), Canadian literary critic. "Mythical Phase: Symbol as Archetype," second essay, Anatomy of Criticism (1957).
  • ''The pursuit of beauty is much more dangerous nonsense than the pursuit of truth or goodness, because it affords a stronger temptation to the ego.''
    Northrop Frye (b. 1912-1991), Canadian literary critic. "Mythical Phase: Symbol as Archetype," Anatomy of Criticism (1957).
  • ''Popular art is normally decried as vulgar by the cultivated people of its time; then it loses favor with its original audience as a new generation grows up; then it begins to merge into the softer lighting of "quaint," and cultivated people become interested in it, and finally it begins to take on the archaic dignity of the primitive.''
    Northrop Frye (b. 1912), Canadian literary critic. "Mythical Phase: Symbol as Archetype," Anatomy of Criticism (1957).
  • ''In our day the conventional element in literature is elaborately disguised by a law of copyright pretending that every work of art is an invention distinctive enough to be patented.''
    Northrop Frye (b. 1912), Canadian literary critic. "Mythical Phase: Symbol as Archetype," second essay, Anatomy of Criticism (1957).
  • ''Popular art is normally decried as vulgar by the cultivated people of its time; then it loses favor with its original audience as a new generation grows up; then it begins to merge into the softer lighting of "quaint," and cultivated people become interested in it, and finally it begins to take on the archaic dignity of the primitive.''
    Northrop Frye (b. 1912), Canadian literary critic. "Mythical Phase: Symbol as Archetype," Anatomy of Criticism (1957).
  • ''Work, as we usually think of it, is energy expended for a further end in view; play is energy expended for its own sake, as with children's play, or as manifestation of the end or goal of work, as in "playing" chess or the piano. Play in this sense, then, is the fulfillment of work, the exhibition of what the work has been done for.''
    Northrop Frye (1912-1991), Canadian critic. The Great Code: The Bible in Literature, ch. 5, Harcourt Brace (1983).

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