Visionary Poetics: Essays on Northrop Frye's Criticism

Visionary Poetics: Essays on Northrop Frye's Criticism

Visionary Poetics: Essays on Northrop Frye's Criticism

Visionary Poetics: Essays on Northrop Frye's Criticism

Excerpt

This book of essays had its beginnings in two programs devoted to Northrop Frye's work at the 1987 convention of the Modern Language Association in San Francisco. The year of Frye's seventyfifth birthday seemed an appropriate time to recognize his achievement. We saw the occasion, however, not simply as a celebration, but as an opportunity for stepping back from the large body of Frye's work to consider its place in the world of contemporary critical thought. Accordingly, we asked three speakers -- Hazard Adams, David Staines, and Imre Salusinszky -- to consider the contexts of Frye's criticism. Three other speakers -- Hayden White, Patricia Parker, and Paul Hernadi -- were asked to reflect on Anatomy of Criticism thirty years after. Each of the papers that emerged focused on an issue decidedly central to the critical vision Frye has developed over his long career -- a career now spanning almost six decades of published work.

In the first program, Hazard Adams considered the role that the anatomy as a literary genre has played in Frye's own work, and the ways that Anatomy of Criticism, because it both dissects literature into its constituent forms and then incorporates all forms into itself, becomes a work of art as well as a work of "science." David Staines examined a less well-known dimension of Frye's criticism-the more than eighty published essays and reviews of English-Canadian literature that taken together constitute an unparalleled contribution to Canadian literary culture. Imre Salusinszky examined Frye's revisionary view of nineteenth-century theories of the imagination, arguing that Frye's neo-Romanticism extended the powers of prophecy from the poet to the critic and so enabled him to circumvent the critical wars underway when he was writing the Anatomy.

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