Brian Russell Graham, author of the recently published The Necessity of Opposites: The Dialectical Thinking of Northrop Frye, introduces Bob Denham’s latest offering in his “Frye and…” series. This second paper in the series, “Northrop Frye and Giordano Bruno,” is newly posted in the journal. Bob’s earlier paper, “Northrop Frye and Soren Kierkegaard,” can of course be found there too. (Two earlier posts on Bruno can be found here and here.)
When we think of the unity of opposites, at least within a modern context, we automatically think of Hegel, a philosopher with whom Frye engages in his studies on the Bible and literature. But Frye’s early essays and notebooks reveal a fascination with Giordano Bruno’s thoughts on the notion of the coincidentia oppositorum. In this very erudite essay, “Northrop Frye and Giordano Bruno,” Denham, whose work on Frye is always informed by his encyclopedic knowledge of his subject, pinpoints and defines the significance of Bruno for Frye, painstakingly providing us with an entire career’s worth of examples of Frye’s reflections on Bruno’s ideas. Throughout Denham steadily moves towards his conclusion that Frye’s crucial notion of ‘interpenetration’ owes, in part, a debt to the legacy of Bruno.