Category Archives: Journal

Happy Birthday, Bob Denham

Bob with his wife, Rachel

Today is Bob Denham’s birthday.

We do not have to say much about Bob’s extensive work as a scholar because anyone who knows him knows about it. However, we do have much to say about Bob’s contribution here. Bob, more than anyone else, has made this website what it is. It was easy enough to set it up in its present form: a daily blog, a library of resources, and a journal of articles about Frye. But all of these would have been shells without Bob’s extraordinarily generous contribution. This generosity is worth detailing.

Bob has so far submitted more than 200 posts to the daily blog portion of the site in the two years since we first went online, which is a remarkable effort in itself. The blog is put together daily on the fly, and Bob’s posts provide the best that can be accomplished on such short notice; and they are, not surprisingly, the most widely read. As a very modest birthday present to him, we have designated a new Bob Denham category, which means that anyone wanting to search out and read his archived posts can now do so without having to scroll through the daily entries looking for them.

Bob has also kindly archived six articles in our journal, including papers he delivered at three Frye Festivals in Moncton.

His greatest contribution, however, that makes this site a significant scholarly resource, is his patronage of the library we established under his name, and which currently holds more than 100 items, virtually every one of them bequeathed to us by Bob. These include:

* An archive of all ten volumes of Bob’s Northrop Frye Newsletter, which he published between 1988 and 2007.

* Several “Previously Unpublished” items, including two notebooks, and a number of letters, among other treasures.

* Ten sets of class notes, as well as some exams, from a number of Frye’s courses between 1947 and 1955. This is a singular resource to provide insights to Frye as a teacher.

* All nine of the introductions to the editions of the Collected Works Bob has edited, which make up a third of the Collected Works as a whole.

* Four lectures.

* A large sampling of reviews of a number of Frye’s works.

* Thirteen “Miscellaneous Compilations” on various subjects, including chess, Islam and the Koran, and movies Frye had seen and refers to throughout the Collected Works.

If it ended here, this would constitute an exceptional contribution to the Frye scholarship to be found here. But it does not, of course, end here. Bob has also allowed us to post in their entirety two books: his first comprehensive study, Northrop Frye and Critical Method, as well as his latest collection, Essays on Northrop Frye, which includes seven new essays on Frye’s relation to a number of thinkers and writers, from Aristotle to Lewis Carroll.

It is not just a courtesy to say that without him this site would not be much more than a hobby shop of Frye enthusiasm. We therefore offer our warmest thanks, and wish him a very happy birthday.

New Article by Denham: “Frye and Bruno”

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.

New Article: “Northrop Frye and Soren Kierkegaard”

Here is a gem from our own Bob Denham, a remarkable piece on “Northrop Frye and Soren Kierkegaard.” It is the latest piece of peer reviewed scholarship we have posted in the journal. I am sure readers will find it of the greatest interest. Two main pivots of Frye’s complex thinking about the metaliterary – creative repetition and primary concern – are beautifully teased out and developed here. As only he can do, Bob shows in detail the development of these concepts from their very first appearance in Frye’s writings, including of course his notebooks and diaries, to their fullest fruition at the end of his career. The article bears more than one reading to appreciate the full effect. I am delighted to say that there is more to come from Bob on Frye and his relationship to other thinkers. It occurred to me today what a good job I have here: I get to read papers about Northrop Frye written by Bob Denham.

We expect Bob’s next paper to be “Northrop Frye and Aristotle,” and hope to have it posted soon.

We also wish to thank Clayton Chrusch for his time and effort to format the charts that appear in the paper.  It takes a fair amount of work to get them looking so good. He is always unfailingly our good friend and generous colleague.

Bob Denham’s “Frye and…” Series

We are pleased to announce that our journal will be publishing a series of essays by Bob Denham on Frye and some of the great thinkers whose influence on his work has not yet been fully surveyed.

Bob’s first essay is “Northrop Frye and Soren Kiekegard,” which will be posted tomorrow with an introduction by Joe Adamson.

To follow are “Northrop Frye and Aristotle,” “Northrop Frye and Longinus,” and “Northrop Frye and Giordano Bruno.”  You can be sure that we’ll let you know when they go up.

Here is the opening paragraph of “Frye and Kierkegaard”:

The roots of Frye’s expansive vision of culture have often been remarked.  Blake and the Bible are obviously central to the development of his ideas, and much has been written about Frye’s debts to both.  Much has been written as well about other significant influences on Frye: Nella Cotrupi’s book on Frye and Vico, Glen Gill’s study of Frye and twentieth‑century mythographers (Eliade, Jung, and others), Ford Russell’s account of the influence of Spengler, Frazer, and Cassirer on Frye, and Sára Tóth on Frye and Buber.  No one, however, has considered the ways that Kierkegaard influenced Frye’s thought.  As the impact of Kierkegaard on Frye is relatively substantial, the purpose of this essay is to examine Frye’s use of Kierkegaard.[1] Direct influence is sometimes difficult to demonstrate, but parallels between and similar ideas held by the two can be instructive.  Kierkegaard helps to define, illustrate, and develop Frye’s thought.  Along the way, we will also glance at Frye’s critique of certain Kierkegaardian ideas.

Editing Frye

This article is cross-posted in the journal here

The odyssey of my editing Frye’s previously unpublished writing began in the summer of 1992 when I arrived at the Victoria College Library to examine the Frye papers that had been deposited there following Frye’s death in January 1991.  I had the good fortune of working with Dolores A. Signori, who had been enlisted to compile a guide to the Frye papers.  Eva Kushner, president of Victoria College, had set me up in one of her offices on the second floor of the E.J. Pratt Library.  Every day, Dolores, who was working down the hall, would bring me a cartful of documents to examine, and my more of less self‑defined job was to see if I could identify the various items.  The Frye papers comprised a substantial body of material––occupying more than twenty‑three meters of shelf space.  What I combed through initially were the “literary files,” as they came to be designated in Dolores’s Guide to the Northrop Frye Papers (Toronto: Victoria University Library, 1993), and among the “personal files,” Frye diaries.  I was also keenly interested in Frye’s correspondence with his Helen Kemp, his girlfriend and later wife, in the 1930s and in the typescripts of his student essays.  These were the four main categories of documents that I focused on.  Among the literary files were Frye’s notebooks, as well as published addresses, lectures, and essays.  I fairly quickly determined that the Frye papers contained a large amount of extraordinary material, and I was convinced that a good portion of it should be published.  Thus began my sixteen‑year odyssey.

The initial challenge was to see, for the holograph material, whether or not I could successfully decipher Frye’s handwriting.  I remember carrying a photocopy of one of the notebooks––it was on Matthew Arnold––back to my room in Burwash Hall to see if I could transcribe it.  I managed to decipher only about half of the text, and so initially I rather despaired of ever being able to reproduce with any degree of certainty what Frye had written.  But the idiosyncrasies of Frye’s script gradually became more and more distinguishable, and eventually I was able to read his handwriting with a fair amount of confidence.  Frye’s orthography remained very consistent over the years, so once I learned the features of his graphemes, it was only occasionally that I would be stumped by a word or phrase.

I convinced myself early on that the notebooks, diaries, student essays, and Frye–Kemp correspondence should be published.  But there was a problem with half of the correspondence––Kemp’s letters to Frye could not be located.  John Ayre had used some of Frye’s letters to Kemp in writing his biography of Frye and he knew of the existence of Kemp’s letters to Frye, but I could not find these letters, nor could Jane Widdicombe, Frye’s secretary and the executrix of the Frye Estate, locate them at the Fryes’ Clifton Road home.  So during that first summer I called Frye’s second wife, Elizabeth, to see if she would permit me to search for the papers in the attic.  She graciously consented.  But shortly after that I learned that she was not well.  Although I knew Elizabeth and had spent some time with her and Frye in Toronto and Washington DC, I decided it would not be proper for me to be rummaging around in the home of one who was showing signs of dementia.  At that point I contacted Ian Morrison, Elizabeth’s son-in-law, who agreed to look through the papers in the attic.  Within several days he drove to the Vic campus, and, as in a scene from a James Bond movie, opened the trunk of his sleek sedan and delivered to me an attaché case and several dusty shopping bags filled with files, photographs, sketch books, postcards, newspaper clippings, and other miscellaneous documents.  Rummaging through this material, I was almost ready to conclude that Kemp’s letters to Frye had not been preserved, but at the bottom of the last shopping bag I finally uncovered them.  Helen Kemp has very carefully clipped the envelopes to the letters and had made notes on some of them, presumably for John Ayre’s benefit.  In any event, I now had 266 letters, cards, and telegrams that passed between Northrop Frye and Helen Kemp from the winter of 1931–32 until 17 June 1939, and I decided that the first project I would tackle would be the transcription of the Frye–Kemp correspondence.

The size of the entire project was almost overwhelming, but I set out to photocopy whatever I thought was worthy of eventual publication.  This was, in addition to the correspondence, chiefly the seventy-seven notebooks that turned up, the seven diaries, and a number of typescripts of Frye’s talks, student papers, and essays.  The Victoria library staff had been gracious in accommodating my needs, but the photocopying proved to be something of a frustration as the machines in the library produced such poor copies.  Robert Brandeis, the chief librarian, has provided me with a key to the library so that I could get in and out of my temporary office at night (the library was not open in the evening during the summer).  So for several weeks I would fill my book bag with notebooks and diaries, haul them across campus to one of the photocopiers in the Robarts Library, and stand there for hours feeding dimes in to the machine.  This was doubtless against library policy (I was afraid to ask for fear I would not be permitted to take the manuscripts from the library), but I was eager to take back to Virginia copies I could read, and the chance that I would be hit by a truck, scattering the Frye manuscripts along St. George Street, seemed fairly remote.  I have no idea how many pages I copied altogether, but the thirteen volumes of previously unpublished material that eventually made their way into the Collected Works amount to almost 7,000 pages.

Word of this treasure trove of began to seep out, and some of those attending the conference on the Legacy of Northrop Frye, held at Victoria during the fall of 1992, began to examine the material in the Frye “fonds,” a word, new to me, that archivists use to refer to a body of material in special collections.  I began to get the sense from some quarters that as a foreigner I was usurping an editing project that properly belonged to Canadians.  The Frye material, it was suggested, was of sufficient scope to keep an army of Toronto graduate students busy for years.  So what business did I have hauling copies of these treasures back to Virginia?  It was at this point that I asked for permission from Jane Widdicombe and Roger Ball, executors of the Frye estate, to edit and publish all of Frye’s previously unpublished manuscripts and documents.  The permission was granted with the proviso that the executors would have final approval of the publisher.  I had been Frye’s unofficial bibliographer for a number of years, and in the late 1980s he had permitted me to edit three volumes of his essays and a collection of interviews.  The executors had earlier granted permission for me and Michael Dolzani to edit Frye’s professional correspondence, which had been coming to the Victoria University library in instalments over a period of years.  But with the excitement generated by the notebooks, diaries, and other papers, I decided to put the professional correspondence on the back burner.  I asked Michael Dolzani, who had been Frye’s research assistant for twelve years and was more knowledgeable about Frye’s work than anyone else, to help me edit the unpublished material.  He agreed, and we set about the painstaking process of transcribing and annotating the photocopied documents.  In 1995–96 I received a year‑long NEH fellowship, which meant that for an entire year I could devote full time to the project.  Five years later Michael and I had a large portion of the manuscripts in electronic form.  Once we had most of the transcription completed we began assigning the material to particular volumes.  I elected to begin with Frye’s late notebooks, written mostly during the 1980s, and Michael initially tackled what came to be known as The “Third Book” Notebooks, Frye’s free‑wheeling speculations about the book he intended to write after Anatomy of Criticism but never did.

In the meantime, a proposal had emanated from Victoria College, spurred by the leadership of President Eva Kushner, to produce a collected edition of Frye’s works.  The issue now was whether or not the previously unpublished documents would become a part of this project.  By 1994, I had completed the transcription of the Frye–Kemp correspondence, a document of more than 400,000 words.  At a meeting at Victoria College of President Kushner, the executors, Ron Schoeffel of the University of Toronto Press, and myself, I agreed that the best course was to join my efforts with the Collected Works project.  I had not had a very happy experience with the publication of my Frye bibliography with the U of T Press, and so I sought some assurance that there wouldn’t be the kind of foot‑dragging with this project that there had been with the bibliography.  I was promised that the manuscript would be published within a year.  It took two years.  I was naturally eager to have the unpublished material in the hands of readers as soon as possible, but I came to realize there was little I could do to advance the process at the Press, which tended to move slower than a wounded turtle.  In any case, the two‑volume Frye–Kemp correspondence was published in 1996 under the general editorship of John M. Robson.  And then, sixteen years after I began making a census of the material in the Frye fonds, I completed my commitment to make available to the reading public the previously unpublished manuscripts of Northrop Frye.  I ended up editing nine of the thirteen volumes, Michael Dolzani edited three, and we shared the editorial duties for the final volume.  Whatever insights we felt were worth reporting appear in our introductions to the several volumes.  Each of us took on an additional volume in the series: Michael edited Words with Power and I, Anatomy of Criticism.

There were eureka moments on practically every page of Frye’s manuscripts, and there were larger epiphanies, such as the discovery, when we were well along in the process, of a set to typed notes called “Work in Progress,” which suddenly clarified the history and organizing pattern of Frye’s ogdoad project and its symbolic shorthand––the eight‑book project that motivated so much of his writing career.  Then there was the discovery when I was almost finished with the late notebooks of still another notebook, which turned up on the bedside table of in Elizabeth Frye’s nursing home.  These notes were the workshop for Frye’s 1990 “double vision” lectures at Emmanuel College.  Transcribing and annotating can often become rather mindless operations, but what justified the tedium was watching Frye’s fertile, nimble, and well‑stocked mind at work.  It is trite to say that every day uncovered new insights, but it is nevertheless true.

The success of the Collected Works project is due to the devoted labors of many people, including Jean O’Grady and Margaret Burgess at the Northrop Frye Centre, but no one has been so important in insuring success as Alvin A. Lee, who assumed the role of general editor after the untimely death of Jack Robson.  Anyone interested in the history of the project should consult Lee’s “The Collected Works of Northrop Frye: The Project and the Edition,” in Northrop Frye: New Directions from Old, ed. David Rampton (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2009), 1–14.  All of us owe an enormous debt to Lee.

The volumes of previously unpublished material:

The Correspondence of Northrop Frye and Helen Kemp, 1932–1939. 2 vols. (Denham)

Northrop Frye’s Student Essays, 1932–1938 (Denham)

Northrop Frye’s Late Notebooks, 1982–1990: Architecture of the Spiritual World. 2 vols. (Denham)

The Diaries of Northrop Frye, 1942–1955 (Denham)

The “Third Book” Notebooks of Northrop Frye, 1964–1972: The Critical Comedy (Dolzani)

Northrop Frye on Literature and Society, 1936–1989 (Denham)

Northrop Frye’s Notebooks and Lectures on the Bible and Other Religious Texts (Denham)

Northrop Frye’s Notebooks on Romance (Dolzani)

Northrop Frye’s Notebooks on Renaissance Literature (Dolzani)

Northrop Frye’s Notebooks for “Anatomy of Criticism” (Denham)

Northrop Frye’s Fiction and Miscellaneous Writings (Denham and Dolzani)

Gifts that Keep on Giving


This has been a tumultuous Fryeday.  Here then is some welcome news.

First, Ken Paradis of Wilfred Laurier University has posted a paper with us.  Ken’s “Romance Narrative in Conservative Evangelical Homiletic” can be found in the journal here.

Second, The Educated Imagination is now on Facebook.  That’s the link you see at the top of our widgets column to the right.  Just click on it and you’re there.  Give us a little time and we’ll soon be making full use of it as a resource.  By fall we may even be tweeting.

Happy Fryeday, everyone.

Nella Cotrupi: “Process and Possibility: Northrop Frye’s Spiritual Vision”


Nella Cotrupi‘s talk to the Frye Festival in 2002.  It is cross-posted in the journal’s Frye Archive here.

Mesdames et messieurs, ladies and gentlemen, it was with real pleasure that I accepted M. Lemond’s invitation to speak to you today about a man whose visionary faith and potent words profoundly touched and changed my life, as he has the lives of so many others. Northrop Frye’s reputation continues to rest primarily on his prodigious output in the realm of literary criticism and theory.  Today, however, I want to invite you to explore with me the driving force that fuelled his work as a literary critic and teacher, and that has made his ideas so compelling, not just for those on the literary and critical path, but for thinking and socially-concerned people around the globe.  My talk will focus on Frye’s spiritual quest, on his unique, unconventional version of Christianity, and on some of the spiritual and philosophical traditions from which he drew inspiration and, dare I say it, hope.

But first, I want to tell you a story.  Appropriate, I think, considering the occasion.  This is a real life story about a committed young lawyer and activist who decided in the early years of her marriage to take some time away from her professional activities to look after her young children.  Those days in the early 1980s were exciting and heady ones for a newly minted lawyer whose work revolved around law reform and advocacy for injured workers in Ontario.  Granted, many of these workers were men and women with whom she felt a deep affinity, being, like her parents, immigrants, workers of Italian origin employed in manufacturing, and construction—working long hours in often dangerous conditions and unsavoury surroundings.

They were people determined to move forward, often at great cost, physical and otherwise, to themselves, in order to bring other options and possibilities to their children. And there were other clients too—all with similar dreams and aspirations—workers from the Caribbean, Portugal, and South America, Europeans and Asians from many lands and even a few Canadians whose history freed them from the need for hyphenation.  All of them were hungry for the opportunities promised by this immense northern land, and all of them shattered by the possibility that the hard-won morsel of hope for a better life might suddenly be snatched from them by the physical and other injuries they had sustained.

To leave this work and vocation, even for a temporary sabbatical, was a difficult call to make.  And yet, the value system was deeply ingrained and the family priorities won out.  A leave was arranged, an application sent out for a part-time MA to keep the brain from getting too flaccid with diaper changes and baby talk and well, you can probably guess the rest.  She walked into room 114 Northrop Frye Hall at Victoria College to sit in on Frye’s Bible lectures and she has never really walked out.  Suddenly those persistent, suppressed, impractical preoccupations which had haunted her since childhood were given legitimacy and a most articulate voice.  So too were those emotions that had driven her as a child to try to capture in words, or with paint and brush the quiet majesty of the Laurentians, the heart-aching sunsets over northern Ontario lakes with their frame of wind-tossed pines, the hard cold beauty of star-filled winter skies over Nipissing, and even, on occasion, the harsh beauty of Calabria’s mountains.  She was free to confront these compulsions now and to ask: Why had she felt moved by these vistas to the innermost core of her being, why compelled to capture and hold the intensity of the moment and what, just what, was one to do with such powerful experiences?

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Michael Dolzani: “Desert Paradise: A Polemical Re-Introduction to Northrop Frye”


We’ve just added Michael Dolzani’s paper “Desert Paradise: A Polemical Re-Introduction to Northrop Frye” to the journal.  You can link to it directly here.

A sample:

What are Frye’s first principles?  At what point does he begin—for that crucial point determines the focus and selectivity of all that follows.  An entire mythology is often implicit in its Creation myth.  The first thing one notices about Frye is his preoccupation with patterns—with correspondences, codes, systems, structures, encyclopedic organizations, vast and all-inclusive webworks.  The titles of the two great works of the first half of his career betoken this.  Fearful Symmetry is an apt title for a book about a poet who said, “I must create a System, or be enslaved by another man’s.”  Frye was for a long time trying to write two books at once, one about Blake’s mythical and metaphorical patterns and one about how Blake’s patterns were a microcosm of the patterns of the whole order of words.  Eventually, this second book spun off and became, first, Structural Poetics, and, finally, Anatomy of Criticism—the titular accent again being on the element of pattern, as it is with The Great Code in the second half of Frye’s career.  That book and its successor, Words with Power, evolved directly from Frye’s notebooks.  Whatever their ultimate value, the notebooks are a fascinating read; at times they seem to have been written by the reincarnation of Pythagoras, as Frye launches into flights of patternmaking dauntingly beyond anything in his published books.  We learn that his whole life’s work was invisibly informed by an eightfold pattern, the ogdoad, sometimes imagined as a series of eight books with cryptic titles like Paradox and Ignoramus, and special symbols to denote each title.  As Robert Denham has shown, we learn of repeated schemes to organize his material numerologically, according to schemes of 7, 12, 14, 28, 78, 100, and so on.  We learn that the Third Book was to be an exposition of a diagram called the Great Doodle, a mandala with symbolic names for its points and quadrants.  And we find repeated attempts to match the Great Doodle with patterns far beyond the field of literature, such as the two traditional circular arrangements of the trigrams of the I Ching.  At some point, almost any reader is going to scratch his head and ask, “What is going on here?”—all the more because of Frye’s qualified but respectful treatment of what he calls “kook books,” which we may define as books of unbridled speculation about various symbolic patterns, for example Holy Blood, Holy Grail, which Frye had read appreciatively long before Dan Brown used it as a source for The DaVinci Code. We also learn from the notebooks about certain revelations or epiphanies that Frye experienced over the course of his life.  In each case, he describes these as epiphanies of pattern, of a sense of coherence, and says that all of his writing was contained in microcosm in those few moments of expanded consciousness.  One came as a result of a late night’s reading of Spengler, an earlier influence than Blake.  In Spengler, any element of any human culture can be explained through its belonging to a larger symbolic pattern.  The insight that Blake’s patterns were the same patterns as those of the Bible, of all mythology, and of all literature came to him as a late-night epiphany while trying to write a graduate paper.  In later years, there were other moments, glancingly referred to by names like “the Seattle revelation.”  Nothing would seem further from the perspective of post-structuralism, which had to develop a whole new vocabulary of swear words adequate to curse any attempt at “totalizing,” “mystification,” or “hegemony.”  Nonetheless, here we are, on the verge of celebrating a centenary for no more logical reason than what Frye himself once called a superstitious reverence for the decimal system of counting.  On the grounds that this makes us complicit, perhaps we should inquire into the reasons for Frye’s own superstitious reverence for patterns.

While this is our first peer reviewed article in the journal, it is the twelfth paper we’ve added.  You’ll also find “Articles of Interest” by Russell Perkin, Bob Denham, Peter Webb, and Johanne Aitken, as well as the “Frye Festival Archive” with talks by Alvin Lee, Bob Denham, Michael Dolzani, Jean O’Grady, and Germaine Warkentin.

You can see it all here.

Michael Dolzani: “The View from the Northern Farm”


Michael Dolzani’s 2004 talk to the Frye Festival, “The View From the Northern Farm: Northrop Frye and Nature”, is now posted in the Frye Festival archive in the journal.  You can link to it directly here.

A sample:

My title is inspired, if that is the word, from the fact that the name “Northrop” apparently means “northern farm.”  In fact, the name-book whence the information derives lists Northrop Frye as the most famous instance of the name.  When I first learned of this, I thought it was a bit ironic.  Northrop Frye’s sensibility is urban; he belongs to Moncton and Toronto, and does not have much to do with farms.  He is, however, northern, and the etymology got itself linked in my mind with the lyrics to a song called “Farmhouse,” from an album of the same title by the rock group Phish.  In the song, the speaker begins by saying, “Welcome, this is a farmhouse.”  But he quickly goes on to apologize that “We have cluster-flies, alas / And this time of year is bad. / We are so very sorry, / There is little we can do / But swat them.”  The failure of nature seems linked to the failure of human relationships, and the failure of relationships in turn to the failure of community, as the speaker drifts from alluding to a lover who walked out on him to the observation that “Each betrayal begins with trust, / Every man returns to dust.”  Then, unexpectedly, an anthem-like refrain erupts with a complete reversal of the meaning of this melancholic farmhouse:  “I never saw the stars so bright, / In the farmhouse things will be all right.”  This reversal, or, to use Frye’s term, recreation of the vision of inhospitable nature and selfish human nature is the subject of my talk.  The direction of the reversal is from a “realistic” perspective allied with both common sense and scientific materialism to what Shakespeare in Twelfth Night calls “A natural perspective, that is and is not.”  The latter is the perspective that we call imaginative and spiritual.  It both is and is not because it begins as a fiction, and yet, unlike mere wish-fulfillment fantasies, has the potential to transform what the poet Wallace Stevens called “things as they are.” The fact that Frye, like Stevens, with various qualifications, grants authority to both perspectives gives him the title of his last book, The Double Vision.

Phish’s “Farmhouse” after the jump.

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