Northrop Frye and Others
Volume III: Interpenetrating Visions
Imprint: University of Ottawa Press
Robert D. Denham pursues his quest to uncover the links between Northrop Frye and writers and others who directly influenced his thinking but about whom he did not write an extensive commentary.
The first chapter is about Frye’s reading of Patanjali, the founder of the philosophy of Hindu yoga, while the second, discusses cultural mythographer Giambattista Vico, literary history and poetic language. The focus of Frye’s criticism was the verbal arts, but he also had an abiding interest in both the visual arts and music; hence Frye’s admiration of J.S. Bach.
The essay on Tolkien examines the tendency in literary history to return from irony to myth, as well as the role that Tolkien played in Frye’s fiction-writing fantasies. In subsequent chapters, Denham explores Frye’s preference for romance and his critique of realism, which run parallel to the views of Oscar Wilde, and their strong shared convictions about the centripetal thrust of art, and about criticism being as creative as literature.
Frye’s appreciation for Whitehead’s concept of interpenetration in Science in the Modern World became a key feature of Frye’s speculations about the highest reaches of literature and religion. Frye is clearly indebted to Martin Buber, particularly his influential meditation I and Thou. Aristotle, an important influence upon Frye, was partially filtered through R.S. Crane and his The Languages of Criticism and the Structure of Poetry.
Finally, the relationship between Frye and his Oxford tutor Edmund Blunden are explored, while the last is an essay on Frye and M.H. Abrams on how Frye’s critical project might be viewed developed in Abrams’s The Mirror and the Lamp.
Published in English.