Northrop Frye

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Northrop Frye : biography

July 14, 1912 – January 23, 1991

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 literary criticism that he developed in Anatomy of Criticism (1957), one of the most important works of literary theory published in the twentieth century. American critic Harold Bloom commented at the time of its publication that Anatomy established Frye as "the foremost living student of Western literature."Forst, G.N. (Winter 2007). Canadian Literature #195, Context(e)s. (pg. 141 – 143). Retrieved on: October 20, 2011. Frye’s contributions to cultural and social criticism spanned a long career during which he earned widespread recognition and received many honours.

Awards and honors

Frye was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 1951 and awarded the Royal Society’s Lorne Pierce Medal (1958) and its Pierre Chauveau Medal (1970). He was named University Professor by the University of Toronto in 1967. He won the Canada Council Molson Prize in 1971, and the Royal Bank Award in 1978. In 1987 he received the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Toronto Arts Lifetime Achievement Award. at Victoria College, University of Toronto. Retrieved on: November 30, 2008. He was an Honorary Fellow or Member of the following:

  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1969)
  • Merton College, Oxford (1974)
  • British Academy (1975)
  • American Philosophical Society (1976), and
  • American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (1981).

Northrop Frye was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1972.Harry Palmer Gallery. . Companions of the Order of Canada Gallery E-H. Retrieved on: November 30, 2008. In 2000, he was honoured by the government of Canada with his image on a postage stamp. An international literary festival The Frye Festival, named in Frye’s honour, takes place every April in Moncton, New Brunswick.

The Northrop Frye Centre, part of Victoria College at the University of Toronto, was named in his honour,University of Toronto. . as was the Humanities Stream of the Vic One Program at Victoria College and the Northrop Frye Centre for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto.

Northrop Frye School in Moncton was named in his honour.

Works by Northrop Frye

The following is a list of his books, including the volumes in the Collected Works of Northrop Frye, an ongoing project under the editorship of Alvin A. Lee.

  • Fearful Symmetry
  • Anatomy of Criticism
  • The Educated Imagination
  • Fables of Identity
  • T. S. Eliot
  • The Well-Tempered Critic
  • A Natural Perspective: The Development of Shakespearean Comedy and Romance
  • The Return of Eden: Five Essays on Milton’s Epics
  • Fools of Time: Studies in Shakespearean Tragedy
  • The Modern Century
  • A Study of English Romanticism
  • The Stubborn Structure: Essays on Criticism and Society
  • The Bush Garden: Essays on the Canadian Imagination
  • The Critical Path: An Essay on the Social Context of Literary Criticism
  • The Secular Scripture: A Study of the Structure of Romance
  • Spiritus Mundi: Essays on Literature, Myth, and Society
  • Northrop Frye on Culture and Literature: A Collection of Review Essays
  • Creation and Recreation
  • The Great Code: The Bible and Literature
  • Divisions on a Ground: Essays on Canadian Culture
  • The Myth of Deliverance: Reflections on Shakespeare’s Problem Comedies
  • Harper Handbook to Literature (with Sheridan Baker and George W. Perkins)
  • On Education
  • No Uncertain Sounds
  • Myth and Metaphor: Selected Essays
  • Words with Power: Being a Second Study of The Bible and Literature
  • Reading the World: Selected Writings
  • The Double Vision of Language, Nature, Time, and God
  • A World in a Grain of Sand: Twenty-Two Interviews with Northrop Frye
  • Reflections on the Canadian Literary Imagination: A Selection of Essays by Northrop Frye
  • Mythologizing Canada: Essays on the Canadian Literary Imagination
  • Northrop Frye on Shakespeare
  • Northrop Frye in Conversation (an interview with David Cayley)
  • The Eternal Act of Creation
  • Collected Works of Northrop Frye
  • Northrop Frye on Religion