Northrop Frye’s The Secular Scripture was first published in 1976 and was soon recognized as one of his most influential works, reflecting an extensive development of Frye’s thoughts about romance as a literary form. This new edition in the Collected Works of Northrop Frye series brings The Secular Scripture together with thirty shorter pieces pertaining to literary theory and criticism from the last fifteen years of Frye’s life.
Frye’s study illuminates the enduring attraction and deep human significance of the romance genre in all its forms. He provides a unique perspective on popular fiction and culture and shows how romance forms have, by their very structural and conventional features, an ability to address both specific social concerns and deep and fundamental human concerns that span time and place. In distinguishing popular from elite culture, Frye insists that they are both ultimately two aspects of the same “human compulsion to create in the face of chaos.” The additional late writings reflect Frye’s sense at the time that he was working “toward some kind of final statement,” which eventually saw the light of day, only months before his death, as Words with Power (1990).
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.
Joseph Adamson is a professor in the Department of English and the Comparative Literature Program at McMaster University.
Jean Wilson is an associate professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics and the Comparative Literature Program at McMaster University.
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
Northrop Frye's Writings on Shakespeare and the Renaissance
The Bush Garden
Essays on the Canadian Imagination
Northrop Frye's Uncollected Prose
Modern Classics: The Great Code
The Bible and Literature