Frasi di Northrop Frye

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Northrop Frye

Data di nascita: 14. Luglio 1912
Data di morte: 23. Gennaio 1991
Altri nomi: ਨੋਰਥਰੋਪ ਫ੍ਰਾਈ, Нортроп Фрај, Нортроп Фрай

Herman Northrop Frye è stato un critico letterario canadese.

Cresciuto a Moncton, nel New Brunswick, è entrato nel Victoria College nel 1929, laureandosi con lode in filosofia nel 1933, per poi passare alla facoltà di teologia ed essere ordinato pastore della Union Church of Canada nel 1936. Ha poi proseguito gli studi presso il Merton College di Oxford.

Dal 1940 ha poi insegnato letteratura inglese all'Emmanuel College della Victoria University di Toronto, di cui è stato anche rettore dal 1959 al 1966.

Nell'anno accademico 1974-1975 è stato Norton professor alla Harvard University.

Ha sposato Helen Kemp, anche lei insegnante, nel 1937 e, rimasto vedovo nel 1984, ha sposato Elizabeth Brown nel 1986.

Morto nel 1991, è sepolto nel Mount Pleasant Cemetery di Toronto, in Ontario.

Nel 2000 il Canada ha stampato un francobollo con la sua immagine.

La sua opera più famosa è Anatomia della critica, uscita in prima edizione nel 1957, ma anche i suoi studi sulla Bibbia e su William Blake sono molto importanti e hanno avuto successo tra gli studiosi a cavallo tra letteratura e religione.

Tra gli argomenti di indagine figurano anche Percy Shelley, George Byron, John Milton, William Shakespeare e gli archetipi mito-poietici della letteratura.

Il Frye concepisce la letteratura come un universo a sé stante: <<essa non è un commento sulla vita e sulla realtà, ma inserisce vita e realtà in un sistema di relazioni verbali>>.

La letteratura imita e ricostruisce nelle sue strutture verbali <<il sogno totale dell'uomo>>. Compito della critica è di mettere in chiaro quell'ordine di strutture. E il Frye costruisce allo scopo, un complesso sistema di simboli, modi, miti e generi, alla base dei quali sono facilmente riconoscibili gli archetipi di Jung. I miti della generazione e della morte, i ritmi della vita, del sogno e delle stagioni: sono queste le strutture fondamentali della realtà che la letteratura ricostruisce.

Frasi Northrop Frye

„At the level of ordinary consciousness the individual man is the centre of everything, surrounded on all sides by what he isn't.“

—  Northrop Frye

"Quotes", The Educated Imagination (1963), Talk 1: The Motive For Metaphor http://northropfrye-theeducatedimagination.blogspot.ca/2009/08/1-motive-for-metaphor.html
Contesto: At the level of ordinary consciousness the individual man is the centre of everything, surrounded on all sides by what he isn't. At the level of practical sense, or civilization, there's a human circumference, a little cultivated world with a human shape, fenced off from the jungle and inside the sea and the sky. But in the imagination anything goes that can be imagined, and the limit of the imagination is a totally human world.

„We have to look at the figures of speech a writer uses, his images and symbols, to realize that underneath all the complexity of human life that uneasy stare at an alien nature is still haunting us, and the problem of surmounting it is still with us.“

—  Northrop Frye

"Quotes", The Educated Imagination (1963), Talk 2: The Singing School
Contesto: [L]iterature not only leads us toward the regaining of identity, but it also separates this state from its opposite, the world we don't like and want to get away from... We have to look at the figures of speech a writer uses, his images and symbols, to realize that underneath all the complexity of human life that uneasy stare at an alien nature is still haunting us, and the problem of surmounting it is still with us.... Literature is still doing the same job that mythology did earlier, but filling in its huge cloudy shapes with sharper lights and deeper shadows.

„We are now dealing with the imaginative, not the existential, with the "let this be," not with "this is," and no work of literature is better by virtue of what it says than any other work“

—  Northrop Frye, libro The Well-Tempered Critic

The Well-Tempered Critic, p. 140
"Quotes"
Contesto: The fundamental act of criticism is a disinterested response to a work of literature in which all one's beliefs, engagements, commitments, prejudices, stampedings of pity and terror, are ordered to be quiet. We are now dealing with the imaginative, not the existential, with the "let this be," not with "this is," and no work of literature is better by virtue of what it says than any other work.

„The use of cliché [is] the use of ready-made, prefabricated formulas designed to give those who are too lazy think the illusion of thinking“

—  Northrop Frye

"Quotes", The Educated Imagination (1963), Talk 6: The Vocation of Eloquence
Contesto: The use of cliché [is] the use of ready-made, prefabricated formulas designed to give those who are too lazy think the illusion of thinking... If our aim is only to say what gets by in society, our reactions will become almost completely mechanical. That's the direction cliché takes us in... it's no more a product of a conscious mind than the bark of a dog.

„A public that tries to do without criticism, and asserts that it knows what it wants or likes, brutalizes the arts and loses its cultural memory.“

—  Northrop Frye

"Quotes", Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays (1957), Polemical Introduction
Contesto: A public that tries to do without criticism, and asserts that it knows what it wants or likes, brutalizes the arts and loses its cultural memory. Art for art's sake is a retreat from criticism which ends in an impoverishment of civilized life itself.

„In literature you don't just read one poem or novel after another, but enter into a complete world of which every work of literature forms part.“

—  Northrop Frye

"Quotes", The Educated Imagination (1963), Talk 3: Giants in Time
Contesto: In literature you don't just read one poem or novel after another, but enter into a complete world of which every work of literature forms part. This affects the writer as much as it does the reader.

„But in the imagination anything goes that can be imagined, and the limit of the imagination is a totally human world.“

—  Northrop Frye

"Quotes", The Educated Imagination (1963), Talk 1: The Motive For Metaphor http://northropfrye-theeducatedimagination.blogspot.ca/2009/08/1-motive-for-metaphor.html
Contesto: At the level of ordinary consciousness the individual man is the centre of everything, surrounded on all sides by what he isn't. At the level of practical sense, or civilization, there's a human circumference, a little cultivated world with a human shape, fenced off from the jungle and inside the sea and the sky. But in the imagination anything goes that can be imagined, and the limit of the imagination is a totally human world.

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„I had genius. No one else in the field known to me had quite that.“

—  Northrop Frye

"Statement for the Day of My Death"
"Quotes"
Contesto: The twentieth century saw an amazing development of scholarship and criticism in the humanities, carried out by people who were more intelligent, better trained, had more languages, had a better sense of proportion, and were infinitely more accurate scholars and competent professional men than I. I had genius. No one else in the field known to me had quite that.

„The poet…is an identifier: everything he sees in nature he identifies with human life.“

—  Northrop Frye

"Quotes", The Educated Imagination (1963), Talk 3: Giants in Time
Contesto: The poet... is an identifier: everything he sees in nature he identifies with human life.

„Finnegans Wake is not a book to read, but a book to decipher:“

—  Northrop Frye

"Quotes", The Educated Imagination (1963), Talk 4: The Keys To Dreamland
Contesto: Finnegans Wake is not a book to read, but a book to decipher: as Joyce says, it's about a dreamer, but it's addressed to an ideal reader suffering from ideal insomnia.

„Education is something that affects the whole person, not bits and pieces of him.“

—  Northrop Frye

"Quotes", The Educated Imagination (1963), Talk 6: The Vocation of Eloquence
Contesto: Education is something that affects the whole person, not bits and pieces of him. It doesn't just train the mind: it's a social and moral development too.

„Literature is a world that we try to build up and enter at the same time.“

—  Northrop Frye

"Quotes", The Educated Imagination (1963), Talk 3: Giants in Time
Contesto: We relate the poems and plays and novels we read and see, not to the men who wrote them, nor even directly to ourselves; we relate them to each other. Literature is a world that we try to build up and enter at the same time.

„Bigots and fanatics seldom have any use for the arts,“

—  Northrop Frye

"Quotes", The Educated Imagination (1963), Talk 3: Giants in Time
Contesto: One of the most obvious uses [of literature], I think, is its encouragement of tolerance. In the imagination our own beliefs are also only possibilities, but we can also see the possibilities in the beliefs of others. Bigots and fanatics seldom have any use for the arts, because they're so preoccupied with their beliefs and actions that they can't see them as also possibilities.

„The objective world is only “material”: it’s there, but it could be there in a great many different forms and aspects…Even here there [are] still possibilities“

—  Northrop Frye

"Quotes"
Contesto: The objective world is only “material”: it’s there, but it could be there in a great many different forms and aspects... Even here there [are] still possibilities: it can’t be just anything. But perhaps extracting a finite schema from the variety of mythologies, literatures, or religions might contribute something to the understanding of what some of these possibilities could be. The individual can’t create his own world, except in art or fantasy: society can only create a myth of concern. What fun if one could get just a peep at what some of the other worlds are that a new humanity could create–no, live in. (p. 287-8)

„The wise man looks for the invisible line between the "is" and the "is not" which is the way through“

—  Northrop Frye

"Quotes", Late Notebooks, 1982–1990: Architecture of the Spiritual World (2002)
Contesto: Man is born lost in a forest. If he is obsessed by the thereness of the forest, he stays lost and goes in circles; if he assumes the forest is not there, he keeps bumping into trees. The wise man looks for the invisible line between the "is" and the "is not" which is the way through. The street in the city, the highway in the desert, the pathway of the planets through the labyrinth of the stars, are parallel forms. (1:111)

„The civilization we live in at present is a gigantic technological structure“

—  Northrop Frye

"Quotes", The Educated Imagination (1963), Talk 6: The Vocation of Eloquence
Contesto: The particular myth that's been organizing this talk, and in a way the whole series, is the story of the Tower of Babel in the Bible. The civilization we live in at present is a gigantic technological structure, a skyscraper almost high enough to reach the moon. It looks like a single world-wide effort, but it's really a deadlock of rivalries; it looks very impressive, except that it has no genuine human dignity. For all its wonderful machinery, we know it's really a crazy ramshackle building, and at ay time may crash around our ears. What the myth tells us is that the Tower of Babel is a work of human imagination, that tis main elements are words, and that what will make it collapse is a confusion of tongues. All had originally one language, the myth says. That language is not English or Russian or Chinese or any common ancestor, if there was one. It is the language of human nature, the language that makes both Shakespeare and Pushkin authentic poets, that gives a social vision to both Lincoln and Gandhi. It never speaks unless we take the time to listen in leisure, and it speaks only in a voice too quite for panic to hear. And then all it has to tell us, when we look over the edge of our leaning tower, is that we are not getting any nearer [to] heaven, and that it is time to return to the earth.

„I wrote Fearful Symmetry during the Second World War, and hideous as the time was, it provided some parallels with Blake's time which were useful for understanding Blake's attitude to the world.“

—  Northrop Frye

Preface of the 1969 edition of Fearful Symmetry : A Study of William Blake (1947)
"Quotes", Fearful Symmetry : A Study of William Blake (1947)
Contesto: I wrote Fearful Symmetry during the Second World War, and hideous as the time was, it provided some parallels with Blake's time which were useful for understanding Blake's attitude to the world. Today, now that reactionary and radical forces alike are once more in the grip of the nihilistic psychosis that Blake described so powerful in Jerusalem, one of the most hopeful signs is the immensely increased sense of the urgency and immediacy of what Blake had to say.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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