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By Northrop Frye

This quantity, which collects Northrop Frye's writings at the concept of literary feedback from the center interval of his occupation, comprises one in every of Frye's personal favourites, The serious course (1971). A hugely vital marker of Frye's profession, The serious direction overtly addresses themes that he had formerly been reluctant to debate as totally, together with the significance of literature to society, the obligations of critics, and the deeper rationales for learning literature.

Filled with insightful texts that point out his transition from literary critic to a theorist of language, fantasy, and human tradition, this version is helping to light up a number of the rules and arguments that may seem later within the nice Code and phrases with strength. observed by means of the rigorous scholarship for which the sequence is well known, this is often one other helpful contribution to literary feedback and theory.

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Extra info for The Critical Path and Other Writings on Critical Theory, 1963-1975 (Collected Works of Northrop Frye)

Sample text

The study of a theme such as time in a purely “thematological” way, as it was conceived, for example, by Jean-Pierre Richard and Raymond Trousson, would go a long way towards embodying Frye’s drive towards the search for literariness as the supreme criterion; yet he could not avoid the central reality of time in human life: that of the individual person, that of society, that of the church, that of the universe. The result is an astonishingly philosophical excursion into the poetry of time as it sometimes succeeds in eliciting from language the image or symbol that will awaken the poet’s and through him or her the reader’s imagination to the omnipresence and omnipotence of time.

Primary concern— the basic needs of survival, food, and so on—became the sum of what poets express through archetypal myth and metaphor, while secondary concern is ideology, whether social and religious mythology or the “message” that individual poets think they are conveying. The spiritual dimension of primary concern then takes on some of the aspects of the myth of freedom—not in the sense of scientific questioning, but in enabling the imaginative freedom that the end of The Critical Path calls the “concern beyond concern,” the grammar or language of all concern.

15—encouraged, perhaps, by the interdisciplinary nature of the booklet he was writing for— Frye widened his purview to that larger area of which literature is a part: the “total mythopoeic structure of concern” (254), no less than the entire domain of the humanities and in many ways the social sciences, the totality of humankind’s visions of itself through the ages as it dreams of xxx Introduction ever-renewed metamorphoses. This key notion of concern had first been used in the speech “Speculation and Concern” of 1965 (WE, 242–60), which sought the essential distinction between the sciences and humanities.

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