Northrop Frye

Herman Northrop Frye CC FRSC (July 14, 1912 January 23, 1991) was a Canadian literary critic and literary theorist, considered one of the most influential of the 20th century.


Northrop Frye

Frye in 1984
Born
Herman Northrop Frye

(1912-07-14)July 14, 1912
DiedJanuary 23, 1991(1991-01-23) (aged 78)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Spouse(s)
  • Helen Kemp Frye
    (m. 1937; died 1986)
  • Elizabeth Brown Frye
    (m. 1988)
Ecclesiastical career
ReligionChristianity
ChurchUnited Church of Canada
Ordained1936
Academic background
Alma mater
Influences
Academic work
DisciplineEnglish
Sub-discipline
School or tradition
InstitutionsVictoria College, Toronto
Main interests
Notable worksAnatomy of Criticism (1957)
Notable ideas
Influenced

Frye gained international fame with his first book, Fearful Symmetry (1947), which led to the reinterpretation of the poetry of William Blake. His lasting reputation rests principally on the theory of literary criticism that he developed in Anatomy of Criticism (1957), one of the most important works of literary theory published in the twentieth century. The American critic Harold Bloom commented at the time of its publication that Anatomy established Frye as "the foremost living student of Western literature."[2] Frye's contributions to cultural and social criticism spanned a long career during which he earned widespread recognition and received many honours.