Daily Archives: November 9, 2011

Frye Quote of the Day: “Peace, dignity, and freedom”


Rush Limbaugh on the “greed” of Occupy protesters and college professors.

With the Occupy and Keystone XL protests in mind — as well as the right-wing response to them — here’s Frye in Words with Power:

The second half of the century has seen a growing distrust of all ideologies and a growing sense of the importance of primary concern in both bodily and mental contexts. We now see protests in favour of peace, dignity, and freedom rather than an alternative ideological system. Such protests are called counter-revolutionary or whatnot by those who hold power and are determined to keep holding it, power being for them something that, in Mao Tse-tung’s phrase, comes out of the barrel of a gun. If the human race cannot come up with a better conception of power than that it is clearly not long of this world. (CW 26, 54)

Bloom, Frye and Value Judgments

“That was my basic quarrel with my former mentor Northrop Frye. He thinks that evaluation has nothing to do with literary criticism. I would tell him, no, it is not true.” — Harold Bloom in an interview published over the weekend perpetuates his agon with Frye upon which he seems to have staked his reputation and legacy.

Here’s Frye in Anatomy addressing the issue of value judgments in a way that uncannily predicts where Bloom’s own criticism would eventually end up:

The first step in developing a genuine poetics is to recognize and get rid of meaningless criticism, or talking about literature in a way that cannot help to build up a systematic structure of knowledge. This includes all the sonorous nonsense that we so often find in critical generalities, reflective comments, ideological perorations, and other consequences of taking a long view of an unorganized subject. It includes all lists of the “best” novels or poems or writers, whether their particular virtue is exclusiveness or inclusiveness. It includes all casual, sentimental, and prejudiced value judgments, and all the literary chit-chat which makes the reputations of poets boom and crash in an imaginary stock exchange. (CW 22, 19)

Previous posts on Bloom here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. That’s a lot of posts, it turns out. We’ll set up a Harold Bloom category to make it easier.