Frijeeyin? Frigeeyin? Fryin?


Several years back Glen R. Gill, author of Northorp Frye and the Phenomenology of Myth, emailed me (and I think others) to ask if I had an opinion on the proper adjectival form of “Frye.”  For some reason this struck my funny‑bone, and so I dropped my pedantic inquiry into what Frye meant by “chess‑in‑bardo” or whatever I was doing to pen this bit of doggerel:


So what’s the adjective for “Frye”?
Do you pronounce your “g” as hard?
Do you, like Gill, just wonder why
The “g” is sometimes soft as lard?

At other times it disappears,
With triplet vowels aligned in row.
The folks must surely have tin ears
Who say the “g” has gotta go.

For precedent consider “Styx”:
Its adjective requires a “g.”
For even Appalachian hicks
“Norwegian” works phonetically.

But why restrict phonetic rule
To followers of Norrie Frye?
Does not the pedant, simple fool,
Induce, then universify?

Thus, “Frygean” applies to texts,
To arguments and archetypes,
To all the Spirit/Word contexts.
The lightest and the darkest types.

But I will quiz the linguist Kris
(My daughter): she may know the rule
To cure our ignorance of bliss
And send us back to suffix school.

Meanwhile, methinks that Glen R. Gill
Should forego adjectives for Jung
And Freud and Frye, and just fulfill
What Norrie craved—a simple tongue.

As it turned out, my daughter Kristin, who teaches linguistics at the University of Western Washington (which is practically in Canada), could not provide me with a clear-cut phonological rule, so we just had to let Glen Gill wander in the phonetic wilderness, though the doggerel made it clear that I myself preferred “Frygean” with a soft “g”––the palatal affricate /j/––in spite of the hint of “frigid” that clings to it.  It subsequently occurred to me that we could open up a whole area of Frye studies devoted to such momentous questions.  As “Frygean” would necessarily require a dictionary of prefixes, we could begin with these entries:

ambiFrygeans (those who want to have it both ways)

anaFrygeans (those who approach Frye from the late works backwards)

antiFrygeans; cf. dysFrygean and contraFrygean (Eagleton and Company)

cataFrygeans (those who have no anabatic tendencies)

circumFrygeans (those who can’t get to the heart of the matter)

anteFrygeans (Plato through Eliot)

postFrygeans (we latter-day blokes)

synFrygeans; cf. conFrygeans (The Educated Imagination” bloggers)

mesoFrygeans (those from the 1960s-1970s)

apoFrygeans (converts who have drifted away)

superFrygean; cf. macroFrygean (Michael Dolzani)

microFrygean (me)

panFrygean (Alvin Lee)

And we will naturally require a glossary that provides proper definitions of other words in which a suffix is attached to “Frye.”   Here’s a start:

Fryics (noun), having to do with Frye (as in “physics,” “optics”)

Fryoid (noun), resembling Frye (as in “asteroid”).  Shortened form, Froid, rhymes with Freud.

Frysm (noun), belief in Frye or practice of his ideas (as in Buddhism)

Fryiac (adj.), pertaining to (as in “cardiac”)

Fryana or Fryiana (noun), collection of things having to do with Frye (as in “Canadiana”)

Fryst (noun), one who believes in Frye and practices his methods (as in “environmentalist”)

Frysk (noun), small Frye (as in “asterisk”).  Cf. Fryscle, small Frye (as in “muscle”)

Fryical (adj.), pertaining to Frye (as in “biblical”)

Frye-ite (noun), one connected with (as in “Israelite”).  Shortened form, Fryte

Fryure (noun), that which pertains to Frye (as in “nature”)

Fryer (noun), one who does things like Frye (as in “speaker”)

Frytic (adj.), having to do with Frye, pertaining to Frye (as in “anthropomorphic”)

Fryary (1) (adj.,  -aris or -arius, meaning “of, having to do with Frye”), as in “cautionary,” “plenipotentiary.”  Fryary (2) (noun, -arius, meaning “one who is concerned with Frye”), as in “voluptuary,” “antiquary.”  Fryary (3) (noun, -arium, meaning “place for studying Frye, as in, “sanctuary,” “library.”  Alternate form, Fryarium.  Banned alternate forms, Frye Centre and (for those south of the 49th parallel) Frye Center.  Cf. Fryia (noun), the area of Frye studies (as in “suburbia”)

Fryolent (adj.), tending to be full of Frye (as in “virulent,” “violent”)

Fryous or Fryose (adj.), tending to be full of Frye (as in “numerous,” “otiose”)

Frysis (noun), state or condition of Frye (as in “analysis”)

Frym (noun), result of Frye (as in “problem”).  Alternate form, Fryma

Fryilia (noun), things having to do with Frye (as in “juvenilia”)

Fryarius (noun), one who is concerned with Frye (as in “adversary”)

Fryant (noun), one who does things like Frye

Fryable (adj.), capable of being like Frye

Fryey (adj.), somewhat like or having the qualities of Frye

Fryine (adj.), women who are like Frye

Fryum (noun), related to Frye (as in “album”)

Fryitis (noun), state of being inflamed by Frye (as in “bronchitis”)

Fryoma (noun), a tumor produced by reading too much Frye (as in “fibroma”)

Fryence (noun), state of being like Frye (as in “prominence”)

Fryate (adj.), to become associated with Frye or having Frye’s qualities (as in “irate”)

Fryity, or Fryty (noun), the quality of being Frygean (as in “verity”)

Fryal (adj.), pertaining to Frye (as in “natal”)

Learned addenda on precedents for various adjectival forms, including the three‑consecutive vowel form:

1.  [From English B01 materials, Scarborough College, U of T]

Frygian Criticism

The term Frygian criticism usually refers to those critics influenced by Frye’s ideas, who are interested in reading specific literary texts in terms of the recurring themes and large mythic patterns he identified. Such criticism tends to universalize literary works. Although Frygian critics tend to identify images or archetypes in a way derived from Frye’s definitions, they may focus on the way in which themes that are connected to a particular culture or society are identifiable in its literary texts. Frye’s connection of archetypes to mythoi and to seasons may or may not be important to Frygian critics. (See below, theme, thematic criticism)

Frye, himself, is not always a Frygian critic, even in the Anatomy of Criticism. In fact, he would have seen this form of criticism as a subcategory of what he called archetypical criticism. The approach that has come to be known as Frygian criticism is, and was for Frye, but one way to approach a text.

2. [From article at]

Both Atwood’s familiarity with conventions and her strategy of displacement are the legacy of another important force shaping her work: the archetypal theory of Northrop Frye and of Jay MacPherson, who taught her at Victoria College, University of Toronto. Atwood’s own critical approach follows Frygean “thematic criticism” to read Canadian culture through literary texts as exemplifications of the dilemma of a “garrison mentality” in its colonialist self-alienation and paralysis of the imagination.

3.  [Title of Margaret Burgess’s article in Northrop Frye and the Afterlife of the Word]

From Archetype to Antitype: A Look at Frygian Archetypology

4. [From chart at]

Bly and other white men schooled when Jungian & Fryean archetypes were promoted attempt to recover experiences & communities they feel they’ve lost.

5.  [From footnote 3 in Willian H. Clamurro, “Identity, Discourse, and Social Order in La ilustre fregona” at]

Ibid., pp. 14-17; given the basic theoretical framework of her book and the reliance on a plausible chronology of the composition of the novelas, El Saffar speaks of “earlier” vs. “later” texts, but many of her observations fit with my slightly looser categories based on a more or less Fryean scale of comedic / positive vs. ironic / negative; see N. Frye, Anatomy of Criticism (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1973), especially pp. 43-49.

6.  [From  Evgenia Pancheva, “Reading in the Age of Media, Computers, and Internet,” at]

If we rethink the Fryean ‘radical of presentation’ in terms of recent communication theory, we might say, after Manfred Pfister, that lyric breaks both the external and the internal communication systems of the tex. . . .

7.  [From Teachnotes at]

Fulfillment in the Fryean sense, means “perception of the Infinite.”

8.  [From an article on cyberspace at]

Kroker & Weinstein characterise ‘virtuality’ somewhat differently. Instead of denoting computer-mediated artificial worlds, they draw from a Baudrillardian conception of the virtual as pure simulacra – which seems homologous to the Fryean conception of the ‘realistic’ as anaesthetic (Baudrillard 1983).

9.  From “Tradition and Canadian Literature by Women,” module 11 at]

Types of literary criticism: Formalism, New Criticism, Marxist Criticism, Psychological Criticism in a wide range of sub-categories such as Freudean, Jungean, Fryean, Lacanian; Structuralism, Poststructuralism, Feminist, and Reader-Response, to name just a few. You have already been practising a range of these critical approaches. The topic embraces a wide range of topics.


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