Thanks to Clayton Chrusch


Fearful Symmetry was the very last of Frye’s major works that I read, and by the time I  first read it, I had re-read just about everything else a few times over. I don’t know why I put it off for so long. I rationalized that it is a youthful work (even though it is clearly not that), a mere precursor to Anatomy where the “real work” begins, and a study narrowly focused on a still somewhat obscure poet. So, predictably enough, when I finally came to read it, it blew open all the doors and sent my carefully arranged mental furniture flying. It’s a book that still haunts me. Fearful Symmetry possesses all of Frye’s runic power to summon up the fearsome but benign authority of the Magus/prophet: not, as he says elsewhere, the oppressive mystery that conceals, but the liberating mystery that reveals.

I am therefore very grateful that Clayton Chrusch has undertaken to provide us with a weekly summary, chapter by chapter. By the time I reach the end of each installment, I’m a little breathless with excitement. Such is the power of the book that Clayton’s lucid exposition effortlessly taps into it. I look forward to his next.

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One thought on “Thanks to Clayton Chrusch

  1. Jonathan Allan

    This reminds me of Professor Denham’s observation when he writes, “In any event, that encounter with Anatomy in the deserts of Texas was what began a long odyssey. Who knows what my professional career would have turned out to be had they given me a real job in the army, or had I come to Frye by way of Fearful Symmetry, the path followed by my friend Michael Dolzani” (from “‘Pity the Northrop Frye Scholar’? Anatomy of Criticism Fifty Years After). In many regards, this is one of the most interesting things about Frye scholars, the Frye book that first caught their attention. At times, when reading scholarship on Frye, thanks to Professor Denham, this has become a question that sits in the back of my mind. Now, Professor Happy offers the other side of the question.


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