Daily Archives: July 30, 2010

Overcrowding and Underfunding


The Ottawa Citizen published an article Tuesday on the miserable state of student housing and cited the closing of the Centre for Comparative Literature as symptomatic of the broader problem of underfunding:

Every university is short of cash: Even the comparatively wealthy University of Toronto expects to shut down the Centre for Comparative Literature founded by Northrop Frye — the most famous humanities scholar this country ever produced — to save money.

The complete story here.  Sign the petition to save the Centre here.

Emily Bronte


Emily in a portrait by her brother Branwell

Today is Emily Bronte‘s birthday (1818-1848).  Earlier posts on Anne and Charlotte here and here.

Frye in “Four Forms of Prose Fiction”:

In novels that we think of as typical, like those of Jane Austen, plot and dialogue are closely linked to those of the comedy of manners.  The conventions of Wuthering Heights are linked rather with the tale and the ballad.  They seem to have more affinity with tragedy, and the tragic emotions of passion and fury, which would shatter the balance of tone in Jane Austen, can be safely accommodated here.  So can the supernatural, or the suggestion of it, which is difficult to get into a novel.  The shape of the plot is different: instead of maneuvering around a situation, as Jane Austen does, Emily Bronte tells her story with linear accents, and she seems to need the help of a narrator, who would be absurdly out of place in Jane Austen.  Conventions so different justify us regarding Wuthering Heights as a different form of prose fiction from the novel, a form we shall here call romance.  (CW 21, 79)