The Northrop Frye Journal & The Robert D. Denham Library

The Robert D. Denham Library, under construction

The Robert D. Denham Library, under construction

Just in time for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, we are pleased to announce, at long last, the launch of our journal dedicated to Northrop Frye.

We are even more pleased to announce that the journal will not be a separate entity, as we initially planned, but will be incorporated into the blog site.

If you look to the top of our Widgets menu to the right, you’ll see the Journal.  Gaining access to it as simple as hitting the links.  We are retaining our original plan, which is to publish both “Articles of Interest” and “Peer Reviewed Scholarship.”  We’ve posted a sample article just so that you can see how it’ll work.  But the journal is now officially open for business, so send your submissions to

We are also very pleased to announce the opening of the The Robert D. Denham Library, the first fully public virtual Northrop Frye library collection in the world.  I think you’ll all agree that it is only fitting that Bob’s name be attached to it.  It too has its own Widget link in the upper right of our site menu.  It will soon be filled with goodies, and, as of today it is the permanent home for Bob’s Northrop Frye Newsletter, the first issue of which is now posted, so please feel free to go in and browse. We’ll update regularly about new acquisitions and additions to our collection, which will expand quickly in the new year.

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7 thoughts on “The Northrop Frye Journal & The Robert D. Denham Library

  1. Glenna Sloan

    Congratulations on the opening of The Educated Imagination! Enjoyed the blog. Loved the idea of the Robert Denham library. Eager to hear more about Frye and education.
    In my humble view, the focus on religion and Frye is often emphazised more than it deserves to be in Frye symposia/conferences/blogs.

    1. Joseph Adamson

      Thanks for your comments, Glenna. What would you like to see more of on the blog? We would love to hear from you and how Frye’s work relates to your own expertise in children’s literature.

  2. Glenna Sloan

    Frye and Bloom? It would never occur to me to consider them together. My interest in Frye’s work is pragmatic and begins with the Anatomy and other writings. The interest centers on his views on education which are immensely important to me and have been the basis of graduate courses in education that I have developed and taught at Queens College, CUNY for decades. At the Frye symposium in Ottawa in 2007 we heard papers about Frye and Bakhtin, Frye in relation to other scholars. Provacative, perhaps. But Frye is in a class by himself. Let’s have more comment on what he had to say.

    1. Joseph Adamson

      Earlier posts on this blog have recommended or suggested just the opposite of what you are saying here, Glenna: that we have to bring Frye into dialogue with current criticism and theory if he is to be made relevant again. But the term relevance simply means trendy, the idea that Frye’s thought can only be vindicated by its relevance to contemporary concerns. So I tend to be very much in your school of thought. It is in fact easy to make Frye relevant to contemporary concerns, since his theory of literature and culture already includes them as modes of criticism and theory that have–to use a trendy term–”always already” been there. Much of contemporary criticism and theory are just recurrences of the same old fallacies. That is why the polemical introduction to Anatomy of Criticism has never dated: the only thing that has changed are the proper names. Literary and cultural criticism keeps looking outside itself for inspiration, and we end up with a host of historians, sociologists, and psychologists manqués masquerading as literary critics and scholars.

      In a similar way, Frye always astonishes me by the way in which he has so much to say about current events today. For example, here is Frye on Obama:

      “One diachronic illusion is the democratic election ritual: the pretence that the new leader will begin afresh. Actually, every leader inherits a situation; almost everything he can do is prescribed for him. The head of a great power, like the President of the U.S., has a considerable potential power of destruction, but relatively little chance for creativity or innovation. Again, many things are technologically feasible which will not be done without a sufficiently powerful economic or political compulsion to do them: hence the sense of science-fiction unreality in so many gazes into the future.” (para. 359, Notebook 12; CW 9: 219)

  3. Jonathan Allan

    Frye and Bloom — indeed, there is much to be said about Frye and Bloom; indeed, there is much to be said about Frye and theory. Theory has tried to toss Frye, but theory today is very much in Frye’s debt. Likewise, reading Frye alone doesn’t pay attention to Frye’s own influences and his own contexts. But, I am admitting here all of my own research interests — to call Frye a genius is one thing, but Frye himself had doubts about the utility of the genius (of course, the oft-quoted Statement for the Day of my Death has Frye announcing his own genius). I agree that Frye needs to be read closely and deeply, but, to quote Fredric Jameson (also influenced by Frye), we must always historicize and we could continue and speak about contextualization. For instance, a recent review of Robert Denham’s edition of the Anatomy of Criticism asks: why has a Canadian not yet written an introduction to the Anatomy? The reviewer notes that the two recent writers were Denham and, of course, Harold Bloom; however, the reviewer continues and notes just how Canadian the book is and how much Canada influenced his writing of that book.

    At any rate, I would — like Joseph Adamson — be very interested in seeing more commentary on Frye and education, especially as it relates to children’s literature. Frye’s annotated collection includes many “children’s” books that influenced The Secular Scripture, so this would be very interesting to read more about.

  4. Ed Lemond

    Glenna’s talk at the Frye Festival, in April, 2008, is called “Northrop Frye Applied in the Elementary Classroom.” It can be found at the Frye festival link, click on “Learn More About Northrop Frye” and then click on “Symposia”. Germaine Warkentin’s talk should be up soon.


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