Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The ideas of Northrop Frye

The Ideas of Northrop Frye airs on CBC this week.

The progam is available online:
Part 1
Part 2

We unknowingly, but happily, tuned into part 1, while driving home in the car last night. Part 2 airs this evening.

I've never read anything by Northrop Frye, but it's quite evident that his influence is all around me in the book-blogging community.

If I understand correctly, Frye's thinking is that literary criticism should be something more/other than scholarly. Criticism must work to understand, not to judge, literature (e.g., through its historical context, its aesthetic structures, etc). It is literature's purpose, after all, to engage us in thinking about the world.

Clearly Frye loved literature and treated it and treated his relationship to it very seriously, but not too seriously.

"Were art to redeem man, it could do so only by saving him from the seriousness of life and restoring him to an unexpected boyishness."

Worth listening to.


Stefanie said...

I've not read Frye either but I've heard the same things about him you have. Thanks for the tip on the program and the links!

Cipriano said...

Frye's book The Great Code: The Bible & Literature is one of the most significant books I've ever read. It's difficult, but the parts a normal mortal can absorb are indispensable in gaining an appreciation of the fact that The Bible is not meant to be interpreted in a thoroughly literal sense.
Frye was, and remains, a genius. A Canadian treasure.