Daily Archives: March 31, 2010

Bob Rodgers: My Archetypal Quest


As some of you may know, I and my partner at our production company, ARCHIVEsync, aim to produce and distribute a series of 24 DVDs based on Frye’s classic 1981/82 lectures on the Bible and Literature. As staff producers at the then U of T Media Centre, we videotaped the lectures and related seminars, and edited them into 30 half hour programs called The Bible and Literature: A Personal View by Northrop Frye. This was a video-only series using excerpts from the lectures and seminars and designed for broadcast time slots and supplementary use by teachers in the classroom. The original recordings, some 300 individual 20-minute tapes, went to Robarts archives where (excepting Robert Denham’s publication of the lecture transcripts) the original videotapes have remained unheeded  ever since.

ARCHIVEsync’s plan is to go back to the original recordings and reproduce the complete lectures, plus cogent selections from the seminars, not simply as videos but on the New Media platform of DVD-ROM and web based delivery, which includes interactive data such as lecture transcripts, explanatory notes, study guides, and bibliography. Unlike the earlier half-hour series, this series contains the complete lectures and is not designed as a teaching aid; it is a direct information tool for researchers, students, and the reading public. Sitting down to a Frye DVD will be a private experience not unlike reading a book, with the added advantage interactive navigation to various kinds of pictorial and contextual information.

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John Donne


The portrait commissioned by Donne in his shroud during his last months

On this date in 1631 John Donne died at age 59.

Holy Sonnet X

Death be not proud, though some have callèd thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better than thy stroake; why swell’st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more, death thou shalt die.

Frye on Donne in Words with Power:

In The Great Code I used the word “interpenetration” (167-8/189) tp describe this fluidity of personality in its complete form.  The word “love” means perhaps too many things in English and for many has an oversentimental sound, but it seems impossible to dissociate the conceptions of spiritual authority of love. The capacity to merge with another person’s being without violating it seems to be at the centre of love, just as the will to dominate one conscious soul-will externally by another is the centre of all tyranny and hatred.  John Donne uses a beautiful figure in this connection based on the metaphor of an individual life as a book.  The spiritual world, he says, is a library “where all books lie open together.” (CW, 26, 117-18)

Emma Thompson and Holy Sonnet X in Mike Nichols’s film adaptation of Wit after the jump.

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Joseph Haydn


The Seasons, “Winter”

Today is Haydn‘s birthday (1732 – 1809).

Frye in Notebook 18:

Haydn is a genius of the idyllic unfallen world: it can’t be just accident that the Creation & the Seasons sum him up.  Incidentally, the spinning song in the latter is amazingly sinister: the spinning wheel of the fates. The words superficially cosy & domestic, have Vala overtones he caught, though there’s no passion or fatality as in Schubert’s Goethe song. (CW, 23, 296)