Northrop Frye - Contribution To Literary Criticism

Contribution To Literary Criticism

The insights gained from his study of Blake set Frye on his critical path and shaped his contributions to literary criticism and theory. He was the first critic to postulate a systematic theory of criticism, "to work out," in his own words, "a unified commentary on the theory of literary criticism" (Stubborn Structure 160). In so doing, he shaped the discipline of criticism. Inspired by his work on Blake, Frye developed and articulated his unified theory ten years after Fearful Symmetry, in the Anatomy of Criticism (1957). He described this as an attempt at a "synoptic view of the scope, theory, principles, and techniques of literary criticism" (Anatomy 3). He asked, "what if criticism is a science as well as an art?" (7), Thus, Frye launched the pursuit which was to occupy the rest of his career—that of establishing criticism as a "coherent field of study which trains the imagination quite as systematically and efficiently as the sciences train the reason" (Hamilton 34).

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