The Correspondence of Northrop Frye and Helen Kemp, 1932-1939

The Correspondence of Northrop Frye and Helen Kemp, 1932-1939: Volume 1

Edited by Robert D. Denham
Volume: 1
Copyright Date: 1996
Pages: 504
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442681057
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Correspondence of Northrop Frye and Helen Kemp, 1932-1939
    Book Description:

    This collection of 266 letters, cards, and telegrams that Helen Kemp and Northrop Frye wrote to each other forms a compelling narrative of their early relationship. The letters reveal Frye?s early talent as a writer.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8105-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xv-xxvi)

    The letters between Northrop Frye and Helen Kemp in the 1930s are a remarkable body of correspondence. The narrative of their early relationship is itself a compelling one, reading much like an epistolary novel. The story they tell is a romance: two people fall in love, want to get married, and are confronted with obstacles blocking their path, including lack of money and the education they both need to advance their careers. The latter is most often what keeps them apart. The primary obstacle to be overcome—their separation from each other—is, of course, the very ground for letter-writing...

  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxvii-xxix)
  6. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  7. Correspondence: VOLUME 1
    • Summer of 1932
      (pp. 3-92)

      The first of the Frye–Kemp letters that has been preserved appears to have been written during the winter of 1931–32 when Frye was spending the Christmas holidays at the home of a classmate, Del Martin. Several other letters were exchanged when they were both in Toronto. But the majority of the 1932 correspondence was written between the time that Frye left college on 27 May for his home in Moncton, New Brunswick, and his return to Toronto in mid-September. During this time Kemp was in Toronto at her parents’ home on Fulton Avenue, except for a three-week interlude...

    • Illustrations
      (pp. None)
    • Summer of 1933
      (pp. 93-183)

      The letters from 1933—twenty-five in all—were, like those of the preceding year, written during the summer. Following his graduation from Victoria,¹ Frye visits the home of another classmate, this time Graham Millar in Hamilton, Ontario. Toward the middle of June, he travels to Chicago for a six-week visit with his sister Vera² on Chicago’s South Side, the site of the World’s Fair. Initially he stays in a rooming house across the street from his sister’s apartment but is driven out by the bedbugs and moves into a University of Chicago boarding house. Frye makes a number of sallies...

    • Illustrations
      (pp. None)
    • Summer of 1934
      (pp. 185-328)

      The letters from this period begin with Kemp at the National Gallery in Ottawa, where she had embarked on a training program for museum work. At the initiative of Arthur Lismer, who was educational supervisor at the Art Gallery of Toronto, Kemp had become an assistant at the gallery in Toronto during the second week of October 1933. Lismer had learned that the Canadian Committee, established by the Carnegie Corporation to study the problems of Canadian museums, wanted to train recent university graduates for museum work. The plan had two phases: students were to gain experience at local museums and...

    • 1934-1935
      (pp. 329-503)

      After staying with Frye in Montreal on 19–20 September, Kemp sets sail for London on 21 September, and she begins her first letter two days later on board the RMSAusonia. Arriving in London, she settles into an undergraduate residence at 7 Taviton Street and begins her work at the fledgling Courtauld Institute.¹ The Courtauld had a skeletal full-time faculty—the director, W.G. Constable, and four additional teachers. Most of the lectures and classes, in fact, were given by outside scholars, many of whom were from the museums and galleries in London. Kemp has some difficulty adjusting to the...

    • Illustrations
      (pp. None)