Frye, Northrop

Speed typist and biblical scholar whose articulate belief in literature as the gestural zone of polite middle-class amateurs normally incapable of gestures made him, for a time, the Bob White of University English professors across Canada. His opus, while not toxic in and of itself, has led to a functional separation between those who create literature and those who process it for industrial reasons, and has virtually ended any serious study of domestic literature in the country. Unless it involved Marshall McLuhan, whose centre at the University of Toronto Frye was reputed obsessed with crushing, the Great Professor was an extremely decent and witty man. But then, isn’t that what he should have been, given the degree of respect and privilege he was accorded?

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