The legacy of Northrop Frye


Considered one of the greatest Canadian thinkers and literary critics of his time, Herman Northrop Frye was born on July 14, 1912, in Sherbrooke, Quebec. He developed an insatiable appetite for reading at an early age, and this love of literature took him on a storied career as a university professor, writer and acclaimed lecturer. He died on January 23, 1991.

To honour Frye's life and contributions to Canadian literature, we've highlighted some of his most engaging and interesting CBC archival interviews and features about him.

In this rare conversation from 1973, Frye talks about his unique approach to literary criticism.

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In this fantastic three-part series on CBC's IDEAS, producer David Cayley examines the evolution of Frye's ideas from his works Fearful Symmetry, his ground-breaking study of William Blake, to The Great Code, his investigation of the relationship between the Bible and literature. Frye himself is heard, along with the comments of friends, colleagues and critics.

Part 1:

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Part 2:

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Part 3:

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1963-massey-frye.gif1962: The Educated Imagination

You can also listen to Frye's 1962 Massey Lectures in their entirety on the IDEAS website.

With its relaxed, informal and frequently humorous style of presentation, The Educated Imagination is an approachable introduction to Frye's theories about literature and the immense value it offers for society.

Listen now.