Re: Perkin and Nicholson


As Russell points out in the post below, it is undeniably true that Frye regularly describes himself as a “bourgeois liberal intellectual” — and, at least once in the notebooks (I think) cheekily adds, “and therefore the flower of humanity.”

But is this an either/or situation? Frye, of course, prefers “both/and” formulations, and might prefer it here too. The self-proclaimed bourgeois liberal also concludes “The Beginning of the Word” (his Ontario Council of Teachers English Keynote Address) with this wittily apt analogy whose vintage is unmistakably the counter-culture of the 1960s (so superbly evoked earlier today by Bob Rodgers):

At his trial Socrates compared himself to a midwife, using what for that male-oriented society was a deliberately vulgar metaphor. Perhaps the teacher of today might be called a drug pusher. He hovers furtively on the outskirts of social organization, dodging possessive parents, evading drill-sergeant educators and snoopy politicians, passing over the squares, disguising himself from anyone who might get at the source of his income. If society really understood what he was doing, there would be many who make things as uncomfortable as they could for him, though luckily malice and stupidity often go together. When no one is looking, he distributes products that are guaranteed to expand the mind, and are quite capable of blowing it as well. But if Canada ever becomes as famous in cultural history as the Athens of Socrates, it will be largely because, in spite of indifference or philistinism or even contempt, he has persisted in the immortal task granted only to teachers, the task of corrupting its youth. [On Education 21]

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1 thought on “Re: Perkin and Nicholson

  1. Russell Perkin

    And I noticed today, browsing in some interviews, that Frye professed himself “very sympathetic” to the Rochdale College experiment in an interview in 1968 (_CW_ 24:84).


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