By Northrop Frye
This quantity, the twenty-second within the acclaimed gathered Works of Northrop Frye sequence, offers Frye's such a lot influential paintings, Anatomy of feedback (1957). In 4 trendy and sweeping essays, Frye makes an attempt to formulate an total view of the scope, rules, and strategies of literary feedback and the conventions of literature - its modes, symbols, archetypes, and genres. He makes the case for feedback as a valid and established technology, a technological know-how that he could cross directly to wield with nice impact over the process his unusual career.
Robert D. Denham's advent to this variation examines the book's genesis, its preliminary reception, and its relation to Frye's different works, rather anxious Symmetry (Volume 14 within the series). He highlights the diagrammatic frame of mind that characterizes Frye's model of structuralism and explores the which means of the notice 'anatomy.' Denham additionally offers context for the paintings, contemplating the serious culture out of which it emerged, in addition to the way it pertains to a number of the hobbies that seemed after the waning of structuralism. A key quantity within the amassed Works sequence, this annotated and expertly brought variation of Anatomy of feedback might be bound to fulfill Frye's many admirers.
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Thus, he can approach Toynbee’s Study of History from the centrifugal perspective, seeing it as “an intuitive response based on an imaginative grasp of the symbolic significance of certain data” (NFCL, 80; NFMC, 205). Toynbee’s book can be read, then, not as a factual chronicle that is trying to prove something by its massive accumulation of data but as a grand imaginative vision. Similarly, with Frazer’s Golden Bough, Frye approaches it as if it were an encyclopedic epic or a continuous form of prose fiction.
In the previous essay we saw that meaning or dianoia was one of three elements, the other two being mythos or narrative and ethos or characterization. It is better to think, therefore, not simply of a sequence of meanings, but of a sequence of contexts or relationships in which the whole work of literary art can be placed, each context having its characteristic mythos and ethos as well as its dianoia or meaning. (67) Context, then, rather than meaning becomes the organizing principle, and the term Frye uses for the contextual relationships of literature is “phases,” a word we have already encountered, phases being contexts within which literature has been and can be interpreted or perspectives from which to analyse meaning.
This form is myth, which explains the title of the fourth phase, and “The Golden Bough is of immense importance in showing the positive importance of myth” (NFCL, 90; EICT, 273). From the perspective of the mythical phase, we see the same kinds of processes or rhythms occurring in literature that we find in ritual and dream. There are two basic patterns, one cyclical, the other dialectical. Ritual imitates the cyclical process of nature: the rhythmic movement of the universe and the seasons, as well as the recurring cycles of human life; and literature in the archetypal phase imitates nature in the same way.
Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays (Collected Works of Northrop Frye) by Northrop Frye