In this Book
- Northrop Frye and Others: Twelve Writers Who Helped Shape His Thinking
- Published by: University of Ottawa Press
- Series: Canadian Literature Collection
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Internationally renowned Canadian literary critic and theorist Northrop Frye, Companion of the Order of Canada and elected to the Royal Society of Canada, penned close readings and critical analyses of Blake, Shakespeare, Milton, Yeats, and Eliot—to name but a few. However, Frye, who was noted for establishing cross-disciplinary connections, was also greatly influenced by other philosophers and writers, such as Aristotle and Lewis Carroll, who feature in his notebooks but not in his published essays or other works.
When Robert D. Denham edited Northrop Frye’s Late Notebooks, he ran across Frye’s proclamation that one Henry Reynolds was “the greatest critic before Johnson.” Denham could not recall ever having encountered this name. But with the Collected Works of Frye now in print, it became possible to track down all references to Reynolds in Frye’s published as well as his previously unpublished writing. The resulting essay shows how Reynolds and Frye are linked by their joint interest in allegory, poetic etymology, and something quite akin to Longinian ekstasis.
As Denham became more familiar with Frye’s previously unpublished work, other figures important to Frye’s thinking began to emerge, including Giordano Bruno, Joachim of Floris, Henry Burton, Søren Kierkegaard, Frances Yates—writers to whom he had not devoted separate books or essays (as he had done in the case of Blake, Shakespeare, Milton, Dickinson, Keats, Shelley, Eliot, Joyce, Yeats, Stevens, the Bible, and Spengler, among others). The twelve “others” eventually came to represent a space occupied by writers whose interests paralleled Frye’s and helped to establish his own critical universe.