Category Archives: Journal

New Additions to the Journal and the Library


Our collection of papers in the journal continues to grow.  We have just added Johanne Aitken’s “Making Human Sense: The Changing Influence of Northrop Frye’s Literary Theory Upon the Literary Experience of Children”.  We have also added to the library a lecture by Bob Denham delivered at Western Washington University in 2003, “Frye and Practical Criticism: Against the Grain”.

New Additions to the Journal and Library


Bob Denham (or “the human Pez-dispenser,” as Joe Adamson calls him, thanks to his uncanny ability to turn out new work for us) has provided our latest additions to the journal and the Denham Library.

First, a biography of Frye’s early years in Moncton, New Brunswick, posted in the journal here.  He’s also provided us with two previously unpublished talks given at Victoria College, “Who Is This Guy Frye?” and “The Significance of ‘Beyond’ in Frye’s Visionary Poetics”, both now posted in the Library.

And here’s a heads up: we will soon be posting in its entirety Bob’s first book on Frye: Northrop Frye and Critical Method. Given that is advertising new copies of the book at 175 bucks a pop, that’s quite a coup for us — and we’re passing on the savings directly to you.

Northrop Frye on Medicine: A Talk to the Doctors at Moncton City Hospital


We are showcasing another paper being added to the Frye Festival Section in our Journal section. This one is by Bob Denham and was delivered at the Frye Festival in April, 2004.  It can be found in the Archive here.

Northrop Frye Literary Festival, Moncton, NB, April 2004

It is difficult to imagine a body of accomplishments larger than those of the man who is honored by having his name attached to this festival.  His preeminence as a literary theorist, his labors on behalf of Canadian culture, his devoted work as a public servant, his achievements as a teacher at Victoria College for more than sixty years, and of course the massive body of writing that has instructed and delighted us for almost seventy‑five years now—these achievements have been well documented.  The written responses to his work—the books and essays and reviews occasioned by his own eloquent prose—require a fairly thick volume just to record, and they have originated on every continent of the globe save Antarctica.  No Anglo-American critic has as great an international reputation as Frye.  As for his national reputation, five years ago a panel of experts for Maclean’s magazine chose Frye as the second most important Canadian in history?[1] To date there are twenty‑eight books devoted in whole to his work.  He has been the subject of international conferences in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Italy, Korea, and China–-in fact twice in China.  And there are more than 200 translations of his books into twenty languages.  All this bears witness to an accomplishment that even a disinterested observer would have to call monumental.

Whatever one says about Frye will always fall short, and I feel in danger of taking a big fall this noon, for what can one say to a group of doctors as doctors about Northrop Frye.  Well, I thought it might be of some interest to call up a few things that relate to the topic of Frye and medicine, which is a topic no one has really talked about much.  And then we’ll open up the floor for questions and comments.  I doubtless won’t be able to answer your questions, but I am naturally very interested in the kinds of questions you might have about Moncton’s most famous native son.  It was as a child in Moncton, incidentally, that Frye, as he records in one of his notebooks, had the fantasy “of becoming a great astronomer & discovering a new planet beyond Neptune that I was going to call Pluto.”  This wouldn’t be particularly noteworthy, except that the fantasy occurred more than a decade before Pluto was actually discovered.  I mention this little anecdote to remind us that Frye was a genius.  Whether ESP is an aspect of genius, I don’t know.

In any event, Frye and medicine is an interesting subject to think about.  The body was a central metaphor in Frye’s criticism, as it was in the work of his great literary hero, William Blake.  In editing Frye’s diaries several years back I was struck by Frye’s concern for the health of his own body and psyche.  He reveals a great deal through self-analysis, writing about his abnormal fears, his physical insecurity, his self-consciousness, his introversion, his sanguine humour and his dark moods, his claustrophobia and paranoia, his grieving over the death of a colleague, his phobia about animals, and so on.  And he writes at length about his various bodily deficiencies and physical ailments: his deviated septum, hay fever attacks, constipation, insomnia, and various states of stupor induced by too much alcohol.  He probes his own ego as well, often from a Jungian perspective.  I would guess that the details in Frye’s description of his symptoms would provide a fairly good basis for diagnosis.

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The Northrop Frye Journal & The Robert D. Denham Library

The Robert D. Denham Library, under construction

The Robert D. Denham Library, under construction

Just in time for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, we are pleased to announce, at long last, the launch of our journal dedicated to Northrop Frye.

We are even more pleased to announce that the journal will not be a separate entity, as we initially planned, but will be incorporated into the blog site.

If you look to the top of our Widgets menu to the right, you’ll see the Journal.  Gaining access to it as simple as hitting the links.  We are retaining our original plan, which is to publish both “Articles of Interest” and “Peer Reviewed Scholarship.”  We’ve posted a sample article just so that you can see how it’ll work.  But the journal is now officially open for business, so send your submissions to

We are also very pleased to announce the opening of the The Robert D. Denham Library, the first fully public virtual Northrop Frye library collection in the world.  I think you’ll all agree that it is only fitting that Bob’s name be attached to it.  It too has its own Widget link in the upper right of our site menu.  It will soon be filled with goodies, and, as of today it is the permanent home for Bob’s Northrop Frye Newsletter, the first issue of which is now posted, so please feel free to go in and browse. We’ll update regularly about new acquisitions and additions to our collection, which will expand quickly in the new year.