Herman Northrop Frye was born in 1912 in Quebec, Canada. His mother educated him at home until the fourth grade. After graduating from the University of Toronto, he studied theology at Emmanuel College for several years and actually worked as a pastor before deciding he preferred the academic life. He eventually obtained his master's degree from Oxford, and taught English at the University of Toronto for more than four decades. Frye's first two books, Fearful Symmetry (1947) and Anatomy of Criticism (1957) set forth the influential literary principles upon which he continued to elaborate in his numerous later works. These include Fables of Identity: Studies in Poetic Mythology, The Well-Tempered Critic, and The Great Code: The Bible and Literature. Frye died in 1991.
The first half of the 'double mirror' structure looks at the language in which the Bible is written, arguing that it is identical to that of myth and metaphor. Frye suggests, therefore, that given this characteristic, the Bible should be read imaginatively rather than historically or doctrinally. However, he is also careful to point out the ways in which the Bible is more than a conventional work of fiction. The second half is an astonishing tour de force in which Frye demonstrates how both the Bible and literature revolve around four primary concerns of human life.
This edition goes beyond the original in its documentation of Frye's dazzlingly encyclopedic range of reference. Profound and searching, Words with Power is perhaps the most daring book of Frye's career and one of the most exciting.
Originally published by Anansi in 1971, The Bush Garden features Northrop Frye’s timeless essays on Canadian literature and painting.
In this cogent collection of essays written between 1943 and 1969, formidable literary critic and theorist Northrop Frye explores the Canadian imagination through the lens of the country’s artistic output: prose, poetry, and paintings. In the collection, Frye offers insightful commentary on the works that shaped a "Canadian sensibility," and includes a comprehensive survey of the landscape of Canadian poetry throughout the 1950s, including astute criticism of the work of E. J. Pratt, Robert Service, Irving Layton, and many others.
Written with clarity and precision, The Bush Garden is a significant cache of literary criticism that traces a pivotal moment in the country’s cultural history, and the evolution of Frye’s thinking at various stages of his career. These essays are evidence of Frye’s brilliance, and cemented his reputation as Canada’s — and the world’s — foremost literary critic.