Here Professor Frye analyses the way in which the structure and imagery of literature have been affected by the complex of ideas and images surrounding the word 'creation.' Traditionally, everything associated with nature, reality, settled order, the way things are, is supposed to go back to the creation, the original divine act of making the world. If the word 'creative' is applied to human activities, the humanly creative is whatever profoundly disturbs our sense of 'the' creation, a reversing or neutralizing of it. What seems to be one of the few admirable forms of human achievement, the creation of the arts, turns out to be a kind of 'decreation.'
The imagery of creation lies at the heart of every mythology and every development of the arts, though Professor Frye distinguishes between the stories of creation that look up to heaven and those that look down to earth. To these he contrasts human creativity, which is projected on the future, and recorded in various forms of the arts ranging from pastoral poetry to architecture. It is this counter-movement of creation set up by man, as reflected particularly in literature, that he calls 'recreation.'
Originally delivered as the 1980 Larkin-Stuart Lectures, this book provides an intriguing and provocative insight into the notion of creation and of the relationship in creativity between the human and the divine.
About the author
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.
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