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Northrop Frye

Herman Northrop Frye (July 14, 1912 - January 23, 1991) was a Canadian literary critic, one of the most distinguished of the 20th century.

Born in Sherbrooke, Quebec, he spent his entire career, including his undergraduate days, at Victoria College, University of Toronto. He first rose to international prominence when still a student. The prophetic poetry of William Blake had long been considered delusional ramblings that could never be understood. Frye found in it a systematic system of metaphor derived from Paradise Lost and from the Bible. He published his findings as Fearful Symmetry in 1947

Ten years later he expanded his vision, arguing in Anatomy of Criticism that there are certain archetypes and symbols used throughout literature. His The Great Code looked at how scenes and images from the Bible underlie all of western literature.

He also engaged in cultural and social criticism and was the recipient of some 39 honorary degrees. Anatomy of Criticism remains one of the most important works of 20th Century literary criticism.

Works by Northrop Frye

Here is a list of his books, including the volumes in the Collected Works of Northrop Frye, an ongoing project under the editorship of Alvin A. Lee.