A Letter to the Frye Community

“I think that everybody tries to produce what Marshall McLuhan called a ‘counter environment.’ That is, you set yourself in opposition to the kind of mass tendencies which the media set up. That’s what’s so important about the humanities in the uni­versity; there is always something of Mark Hopkins and the log. There’s something of a personal dialogue between one human being and another. And the fact that this dialogue is being car­ried out in the teeth of all the mass emotion techniques of the electronic media is a very important side of the humanities.” ––Northrop Frye

A great deal of imaginative and intellectual energy was generated by the two recent conferences on Frye, honoring the centenary of his birth––one in Budapest and the other in Toronto.  Our weblog, “The Educated Imagination,” allows us to continue the dialogues begun at those two gatherings.

The aims of the blog are

● to stimulate and foster interest in Frye’s work

● to facilitate the conversation about his criticism

● to provide useful research tools for all who want to study his writings

● to keep the bibliography of Frye studies up to date, becoming a steward of the history and tradition of such studies

● to testify to the ways that Frye’s thought has influenced our thinking, understanding, and teaching

● to explain things in Frye’s work that may be difficult, to analyze the various parts of his conceptual universe, and to evaluate and critique his theories

● to understand the sources of Frye’s thought and the influences that shaped it

● to see how Frye’s criticism interpenetrates with or otherwise relates to the conceptual universes of other systems of thought

● to study how Frye’s criticism has been applied practically, both in literary studies and in other disciplines

● to understand how Frye’s work fits into the history of criticism

● to examine Frye’s place in Canadian culture

● to pose questions about Frye’s work that others may be able to answer

● to develop the fledgling journal––go here

● to publicize and review books and articles about Frye

The blog, which, as you can see, is fully searchable, enables one to comment on earlier postings, and it has a “library” that has begun to accumulate materials, including articles on Frye’s work, several ebooks, pdf files of the Northrop Frye Newsletter, previously unpublished material, selected reviews of some of Frye’s books, student notes from Frye’s courses, and the like.

The purpose of this letter is to invite you and your friends and colleagues to become a part of the conversation.  You may want to respond to earlier postings by using the “comment” feature of the blog.  Beyond that, feel free to send Joe Adamson (adamsonj@mcmaster.ca) your articles, comments, queries, suggestions, and / or earlier things you’ve written about Frye.  By so doing you will circulate your ideas among the more than 11,000 visitors who log on to the blog each month.  If you would like to become a regular blogger, posting every week or even once a month, please let Joe know.  As Frye says, the techniques of the electronic media certainly have their down side.  But they can also help bring us together by engaging in dialogue about a common subject.

Joe Adamson and Bob Denham

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