Missing Items in the Frye Corpus

Missing Items in the Frye Corpus

Robert D. Denham

When I was compiling Frye’s bibliography Frye wrote to me, saying:

 I never know how exhaustive a bibliography should be, especially with the development of that snake in the grass the tape recorder.  With me, the difference between writing and speaking from notes is a chalk-and-cheese difference, and when I’m asked to speak I often make it a condition that I am not to produce a manuscript.  But of course when I turn up either a tape recorder is revolving somewhere or the CBC has gone into action, and they produce what purports to be a manuscript.  Thus there now exists a speech of mine printed in the Educational Courier, Nov.–Dec. 1968, Vol. xxxix, No. 2, (listed as) “The Social Importance of Literature,” pp. 19–23.  The same magazine printed a speech in another issue which I am sending you: use your own judgement.  Similarly with campus magazines.  I recently wrote out a speech for the local alumni called “The Quality of Life in the Seventies,” which was printed in the University of Toronto Graduate, Spring 1971, Vol. III, No. 5, pp. 38–48.  But to this was added a speech called “Education and the Rejection of Reality,” pp. 49–55, which, as the editor says, “consists of Dr. Frye’s words as they came off the tape.”  This is one I know about, but I quite often hear about recorded speeches of mine that I haven’t even seen, and didn’t until then know existed.  I think this is probably illegal, but the copyright law is in such a chaos that nobody really knows what is legal.

But sometimes the chalk and cheese turn out to be almost indistinguishable.  An example is a series of two lectures on “Reconsidering Levels of Meaning” Frye gave at Emory & Henry College in 1979.  He spoke only from two or three pages of notes he had scribbled on a writing pad.  I taped his lectures and later transcribed them.  They were published twenty‑five years later in Christianity and Literature and are now included in volume 25 of the Collected Works.  Although my transcription never received Frye’s imprimatur, we are doubtless the richer for having this variation on a theme that Frye was working on when writing The Great Code.

A number of talks Frye gave cannot be accounted for.  Either he spoke extemporaneously or from notes; or, if there were manuscripts, they have disappeared.  Perhaps some of them were taped.  What follows is a list of more than 140 talks Frye gave for which no known manuscripts exist.  Bloggers might know whether some of them were recorded and, if so, whether it might be possible to recover them.


A paper on Blake, at the Graduate English Club, 25 October 1934.

In 1936–37 and 1938–39 Frye wrote papers for his Oxford tutorials with Edmund Blunden on Wyatt, Fulke Greville, Crashaw, Herbert, Vaughan, Traherne, Herrick, Marvell, Cowley, the Dark Ages, the character book, King Lear, the history of language.  He may have written papers on Sidney and Lyly as well.  At least some of these papers Frye sent to his Victoria College mentor, Pelham Edgar, who passed them on to Frye’s friend Roy Daniells.  What subsequently became of them is uncertain.  They are not among the Edgar Papers at Victoria University or the Daniells Papers at the University of British Columbia.

“A Short History of the Devil,” at Oxford to the members of the Bodley Club, 2 December 1938.

“The Search for Wisdom” and “The Search for the Word,” at the Victoria College retreat, 27 September 1942.

A talk on Frazer to the Liberal Arts Club, Toronto, October 1942.

A sermon on Job 24:1, 1 November 1942.

A paper on satire at Victoria College, 17 February 1943.

A sermon on knowledge and wisdom at the Howard Park United Church, Toronto, 13 March 1949.

A talk on Blake at St. Hilda’s College, Toronto, 2 April 1949.

A lecture at the School of Social Work, 5 April 1949.

Two lectures at the University of Michigan––on Edmund Spenser and on Finnegans Wake––25 April 1949.

A talk on literature in Huntsville, Ontario, 4 January 1950.

A talk on education to a group of librarians, 16 January 1950.

A talk to the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation club on liberalism and laissez faire, 1 February 1950.

A sermon at the Victoria College chapel, 12 March 1950.

A talk at the dinner for honor students at Victoria College, 11 January 1952.

A talk to a group of women in an extension course, 14 January 1952.

A talk in a Hart House series called “Grounds for Hope: A Personal Statement,” 6 February 1952.

“What Is Poetry?” at a meeting of the Association of Teachers of English, 26 February 1952.

A sermon on “The Hatred of Knowledge” for the Victoria College Union, 2 March 1952.

A talk to church students in Stephenson House, a Victoria University cooperative residence for undergraduates, 5 March 1952.

A talk on the relation of the artist to society at Woodsworth House, 16 March 1952.

A talk to the Trinitarian Society on Christianity and culture, 31 March 1952.

A talk to a group of librarians in Ottawa, 24 August 1953.

“The Critic and His Public,” “Symbols of Fact and Fiction,” “The Language of Poetry,” and “Myth and Society,” at Princeton University, 2–11 March 1954.

A television show on William Blake, 16 January 1955.  Frye wrote the script and selected the poems, which were read by Barry Morse.

Two lectures on Canadian literature to audiences at the Library School, University of Toronto, 2 and 10 February 1955.

A talk on Finnegans Wake to students at Ryerson House, Victoria College, 18 March 1955.

Lectures on Blake at the Thomas More Institute; lectures at the University of Cincinnati and Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, fall 1957.

Lecture to the Program in Criticism at the University of Texas, Austin, 1958.

“The Focus of Recognition,” “The Focus of Metaphor,” and “The Focus of Society,” Georgetown University, July 1960.

Lectures at Haverford College, Brown University, Harvard University, University of Nebraska, Rochester University, and Mount Allison University, 1962.

“Shakespeare in the Modern World” for CBC Radio’s “University of the Air” series, 13 May 1964.

Baccalaureate sermon at the Victoria and Emmanuel College ceremonies, Victoria College Chapel, 19 March 1967.

“One Bare Circumstance: The Quest of Endymion,” at the meeting of the Midwest Modern Language Associationm Lafayette, Indiana, 2 November 1967.

“The Social Context of Literary Criticism,” at the Society for the Humanities, Cornell University, 18 April 1968.

“The Symbolic Universe” and “The Unity of Literature,” at Johns Hopkins University, 5–10 March 1969.

“The Search for the Path” and “Following the Path,” University of California, Berkeley, 23 and 30 April 1969.

“The Social Context of Literature,” at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, at Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York, and at Wells College, Aurora, New York, 30 October, 1 November, and 2 November 1969.

“Pure and Applied Imagination,” at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, 4 December 1969.

“The Humanistic Era,” at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, 19–21 February 1970.

“Mythology and Revelation,” at Victoria University, 29 October 1970.

A talk at Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, 21–22 January 1971.

“Motives for Metaphors’” at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, 24 March, and at the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, 24 and 25 March 1971.

A talk at Northview Heights Collegiate Institute, Willowdale, Ontario, 5 April 1971.

“The Reality of Imagination” at Illinois State University, Normal, 7–8 May 1971.

“Symbolic Patterns in Poetry” at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 15 May 1971.

The Philanderer and Shaw as a Social Critic,” at the Shaw Festival, Niagara‑on‑the‑Lake, Ontario, 31 July 1971.

“The City of the Sun, “The Burning Bush,” “The Postponed Vision,” the Birks Lectures at McGill University. Montreal, 5–6 October 1971.

“Humanism and Teaching,” at Mt. St. Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 22 October 1971.

“The Ear and the Eye in Literature” and “The Spoken and Written Word,” at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 28–29 October 1971.

A talk at Upper Canada College, Toronto, 15 November 1971.

“The Teacher as Healer,” at the Aesculapian Club, Toronto, 17 December 1971.

“The Rivers of Eden,” at Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, 4 February 1972.  This talk also given at several venues in Scandinavia, April–1 May 1972, and at the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, 10 May 1972

“Education and Community,” at the University Women’s Club, Toronto, 23 February 1972.

“The Faces of the Bible”: “The Ox: Foreground Imagery,” “The Man: Foreground Narrative,” “The Lion: Background Imagery,” and “The Eagle: Background Narrative,” at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 26 March–8 April 1972.

“The Unity of Literature,” at the University of Guelph, 15 October 1973.  This talk also given at Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, at Bishop’s University, Lennoxville, Quebec, and at Loyola College, Montreal, 7 February, 18 February, 22 February 1974.

“The Bible and Literature,” Scarborough College, University of Toronto, 5 November 1973.

“Humanism in Canada,” at the meeting of the Canadian Association of Teachers of German, University of Toronto, 28 May 1974.

“Education as a Rolling Format,” at a meeting of the Association of the School of Nursing, University of Toronto, 6 June 1974.

“One Dimensional Country: An Introduction to Canada,” at Hollins College, Virginia, 17–18 February 1975.

“The Ear and the Eye in William Blake,” the Witter Bynner Lecture at Harvard University, 5 February 1975.

“Time and Space in the Eliot Quartets,” at Boston College, 11 March 1975.

“Ned Pratt,” at the Arts and Letters Club, Toronto, 12 November 1975.

“Criticism as Creation” at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, 12 April 1976.

“Time and Space in Spenser’s Fairyland,” at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, 13 April 1976.

“The Bible and English Literature,” at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, 7 May 1976.

“The Imaginative Revolution,” at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, 25 November 1976.

“Anniversaries: Survival and Development,” at Erindale College, Mississauga, Ontario, 13 January 1977.

“Endangered Species: Reflections of a Humanist at Toronto,” at the University of Toronto, 9 February 1977.

“Ghosts and Faeries” and “The Romantic and the Ironic in Tragedy,” at the Stratford Festival, Stratford, Ontario 13–20 July 1977.

“Victoria’s Contribution to the Development of Canadian Culture,” at Victoria University, Toronto, 10 November 1977.

“Why Study Literature––A Rationale for the University Department of English,” at the University of Guyana, January 1978.

“The Language of Belief,” “Diachronic and Synchronic Myths,” and “Revolutionary Monotheism,” the Mathers Lectures at Queen’s Theological College, Kingston, Ontario 15–17 February 1978.

“Canadian Literature,” at Ryerson Polytechnic Institute, Toronto, 8 March 1978.

“Canada: The Other Confederacy,” at Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas, 25 April 1978.

“Comparative Literature: What Gets Compared?” at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 27 April 1978.

“Converging Themes in the Humanities,” at the annual conference of the Association of Canadian University Teachers of English, London, Ontario, 24 May 1978.

“Courtiers in a World without Courts: Castiglione and Twentieth‑Century Education,” at the Italian Cultural Institute, Toronto, 18 October 1978.  A version of this talk was given as “Courtiers without Courts: Some Comments on Renaissance Education,” at University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, 27 October 1978.

“Literature and Mythology,” at Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, 19 January 1979.

“The Canadian Cultural Situation,” at the Tar Heels Exchange Seminar, Toronto, 22 January 1979.

“T.S. Eliot,” at the School of Continuing Education, University of Toronto, 22 February 1979.

“Visions and Dreams,” at Brigham Young University, Salt Lake City, Utah, 15 November 1979.

“Religion, Literature, and Canadian Society,” at the United Church Observer Banquet, 21 November 1979.

“T.S. Eliot,” at the School of Continuing Studies, University of Toronto, 26 February 1981.

“The Critic’s World,” at the University of New Brunswick, St. John, 11 March 1981.

“The Human and the Humane,” at Mt. Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick, 12 March 1981.

“Canadian Perspectives,” at the University of Toronto Alumni, 28 September 1981.

“Education for Change, or, Crossing Bridges without Coming to Them,” at the University of Toronto Alumni meeting in Montreal, 16 October 1981.

“The Revolutionary Imagination,” at the Ontario College of Art, Toronto, 26 November 1981.

“Shakespeare’s Romances,” at University College, University of Toronto, 18 January 1982.

“Beyond Eng. Lit.: Development in the Teaching of the Humanities,” at the University of Toronto Faculty Club, 12 February 1982.

“The Reformation in Mythology: The Christian Tradition and the Romantic Movement,” at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, 4 March 1982.

A talk to students at Massey College, University of Toronto, 17 March 1982.

“Myth in the Context of Humanism,” at Agnes Scott College, Atlanta, Georgia, 1 April 1982.

“An Illustrated Lecture of Blake’s Jerusalem,” the Rodney Baine Lecture at the University of Georgia, Athens, 5 April 1982.

“Reflections of a Profane Evangelist,” at the meeting of thr Emmanuel College Alumni, 6 May 1982.

“The Elizabethan Mythological Universe and Its Biblical Origin,” presented at Bar Ilan University, Israel, May 1982.

“The Imaginative World as an Environment,” at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, 18 November 1982.

An illustrated lecture on Blake to a class taught by Magdalene (Maggie) Redekop, University of Toronto, 7 January 1983.

“The Prospects of a Talking Head,” at the Faculty of Library Science, University of Toronto, 21 January 1983.

A talk to David Newman’s class on William Blake, 10 March 1983.

“Social Concern and the Authority of the Arts,” at the School of Criticism and Theory, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, July 1983.

The Educated Imagination and Design for Learning Revisited,” at the meeting of the Canadian Council of Teachers of English, Toronto, 5 November 1983.

“The Great Code,” at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, 4 May 1984.

“The Authority of Literature,” at Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, 30 November 1984.

“Myth and Time,” at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 15 March 1985.

“Codes and Meanings,” at Springboards (Association of Teachers of English in Quebec Annual Conference), Montreal, 26 April 1985.

“Humanism and Being Human,” at Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, 1 November 1985.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: The Poet as Lunatic,” at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, 23 November 1985.

“Myth, Metaphor, and Identity,” at the Australian National University, Canberra, June 1986.

“The Meeting of Doctrine and Mind,” at Hendrix College, Conway, Arkansas, 24 April 1987.

“The Bible on the Instalment Plan,” at gather of Massey College Senior Fellows, University of Toronto, 23 September 1987.

“The Place of Myth in the Verbal World,” at a University College Symposium, University of Toronto, 22 January 1988.

“Public or Secondary Education in Ontario in the Next Fifteen Years,” at gathering of secondary school teachers, 15 April 1988.

“The Italian Connection: The Reception of Canadian Literature in Italy,” at an international conference at the University of Toronto and York University, 19 April 1988.

“Climbing Jacob’s Ladder,” at the University of Buffalo, May 6, 1988.

“The Circus Parade of Education,” at Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, 15 September 1988.

“The Social Function of Criticism” and “Varieties of Discourse,” at the University of Western Ontario, London, 9–10 March 1989.

“From Province to Region,” at the Later Life Learning group of Innis College, University of Toronto, 7 December 1989.

“The Double Vision,” at the annual meeting of the Northeast Modern Language Association, Toronto, 6 April 1990.

“Poets and the Double Vision of Nature,” at Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota, 24 April 1990.



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