Once a critic learns his job, criticism ought to come very easily, for if he is writing about a greater man than himself (the normal procedure), he has that man’s power available and ready to be tapped, if he will only realize that it is greater, and puncture a hole in the dam of his own ego. The arrogance and self-sufficiency I find in so much contemporary criticism, especially in America, bewilders me, as it seems to make things needlessly difficult.
The “arrogance and self-sufficiency” of scholars seems to be a perennial problem.
As Russell points out, Frye dedicated himself to Victoria College, even though in the diaries (which end in 1955) he complains about how stifling the institution could be and occasionally wonders if he shouldn’t take up one of the better offers coming his way. On January 19, 1950, he observes, “I am worried about my future as a first-class scholar in a second-class institution.”