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Northrop Frye, literary critic

The Story

"The more lively your sense experience is, the more alive your are." In this rare interview, Northrop Frye talks to Ramsay Cook about his unique ideas regarding theology and literature, two of his disciplines. He also discusses the nature of education and the importance of teaching students to commit to their work without "pushing them". Frye also talks about his roots growing up in New Brunswick, the importance of mythology and Canadian nationalism.

Medium: Television
Program: Impressions
Broadcast Date: Sept. 2, 1973
Guest: Northrop Frye
Interviewer: Ramsay Cooke
Duration: 26:35

Did You know?

• Northrop Frye was born in Sherbrooke, Que., in 1912. His early years were spent in Moncton, N.B. He died in Toronto in 1991. • Frye was professor of English at Victoria College, University of Toronto, for nearly 50 years.


• His first book, Fearful Symmetry, about the prophetic works of William Blake, was published in 1947. It is considered a remarkable study that looked at Blake's use of a regular pattern of symbolism closely reflecting ideas and images in the Bible. At the time, these ideas about Blake were considered difficult to unravel.


• In 1982, Frye published one of his most famous studies, The Great Code. It was a book that examined the Bible as providing the symbolic underpinnings of Western literature, particularly from a structural point of view.


• In 1988, Victoria College opened the Northrop Frye Centre dedicated to students interested in researching the humanities and the collected works of Frye. 




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