In the 1970s and 80s, Northrop Frye and Jay Macpherson co-taught a very influential course at the University of Toronto's Victoria College on the history of Western mythology - Frye focusing on the biblical myths; Macpherson on the classical. Biblical and Classical Myths recreates the thought behind that course, with Frye's lectures - unpublished until very recently - supplemented by Macpherson's popular 1962 textbook on classical mythology, Four Ages: The Classical Myths.
Frye's lectures on the Bible make up the first half of the book. He expounds on an array of topics, including translations of the bible, sexual imagery, pastoral and agricultural imagery, and law and revolution in the bible. Four Ages makes up the second half. Macpherson narrates the major classical myths from stories of creation to the myths' survival in later European traditions.
By complementing the biblical tradition with the classical, this volume imparts a comprehensive understanding of western mythology. With a preface by Alvin Lee, general editor of the Collected Works of Northrop Frye, Biblical and Classical Myths is an essential volume and represents a unique achievement in scholarship.
About the authors
Northrop Frye (1912-1991) was one of Canada's most distinguished men of letters. His first book, Fearful Symmetry, published in 1947, transformed the study of the poet William Blake, and over the next forty years he transformed the study of literature itself. Among his most influential books are Anatomy of Criticism (1957), The Educated Imagination (1963), The Bush Garden (1971), and The Great Code (1982). Northrop Frye on Shakespeare (1986) won the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction. A professor at the University of Toronto, Frye gained an international reputation for his wide-reaching critical vision. He lectured at universities around the world and received many awards and honours, including thirty-six honorary degrees.
Jay Macpherson (1931 – 2012) was an author, publisher and educator central to the development of Canadian mythopoetry in the 1950s and 60s. She became the first Canadian to win Poetry magazine's Levinson prize in 1957. In 1958 she won the Governor General's Award for Poetry for The Boatman. In addition to her verse, Macpherson was the founder of Emblem Books and an instructor at The University of Toronto's Victoria College. Macpherson died in March of 2012.
Other titles by Northrop Frye
The Educated Imagination
The Return of Eden
Five Essays on Milton's Epics
The Valley of Vision
Blake as Prophet and Revolutionary
Design for Learning
Reports Submitted to the Joint Committee of the Toronto Board of Education and the University of Toronto
University of Toronto Installation Lectures, 1958
The Bush Garden
Essays on the Canadian Imagination
Northrop Frye's Uncollected Prose
The Secular Scripture and Other Writings on Critical Theory, 1976–1991
Modern Classics: The Great Code
The Bible and Literature