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Literary Criticism General

Biblical and Classical Myths

The Mythological Framework of Western Culture

by (author) Northrop Frye & Jay MacPherson

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2004
General, Ancient & Classical, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2004
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2004
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2004
    List Price

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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 Biblical and Classical Myths recreates the thought behind that course, with Frye's lectures - unpublished until very recently - supplemented by Macpherson's popular 1962 textbook on classical mythology, Four Ages: The Classical Myths.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.

Northrop Frye's profile page

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.

Jay MacPherson's profile page

Other titles by Northrop Frye

Other titles by Jay MacPherson