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The 'Third Book' Notebooks of Northrop Frye, 1964-1972: The Critical Comedy

The 'Third Book' Notebooks of Northrop Frye, 1964-1972: The Critical Comedy

Edited by Michael Dolzani
Volume: 9
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 528
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The 'Third Book' Notebooks of Northrop Frye, 1964-1972: The Critical Comedy
    Book Description:

    In the early 1960s, Northrop Frye began keeping notebooks with the aim of creating a critical epic that he referred to as the 'Third Book'. Although ultimately abandoned, the 'Third Book' remains an essential component of Frye's works.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8243-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-v)
  2. [Illustration]
    (pp. vi-vi)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. xix-lvi)

    In ″Literature as a Critique of Pure Reason,″ Northrop Frye notes that Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead speak independently of a ″secret imaginative background″ hidden behind the formal, public system of a philosopher′s thought. Russell adds that if the philosopher is aware of it, ″he probably realizes that it won′t quite do; he therefore conceals it, and sets forth something more sophisticated, which he believes because it is like his crude system, but which he asks others to accept because he thinks he has made it such as cannot be disproved.″ Frye himself then goes on to say that...

  7. Chronology
    (pp. lvii-lx)
  8. Published and Forthcoming Notebooks
    (pp. lxi-lxiv)
  9. Third Book Notebooks, 1964-1972

    • Notebook 19
      (pp. 3-103)

      [1] I suppose the Third Book will really be an introduction to the study of literature, not so much along the lines of ʟ-˥-∧ [Liberal-Tragicomedy-Anticlimax] sequence, which is conceived generically, as an abstraction of the third Anatomy essay, expanded into a full-scale treatment.

      [2] I don′t know if I have any new ideas. The elements are the same as before: Biblical typology, the Druid analogy, dialectical & cyclical rhythms, tables of metaphors, history of imagery & the two frameworks. Also the humanizing of nature by analogy & identity and—what may be a new twist—the adjusting of the introduction to a possible...

    • Notebook 6
      (pp. 104-126)

      [1] The fundamental idea of Eros is the reversal of the movement of time. It is based on the sense that, as Norbert Wiener doesn′t quite say, the creative act (he says communication) overcomes the habitual inertia in life that leads towards death (he says entropy, if that means anything {except a myth, of course} outside its thermodynamic context).¹

      [2] {Hence Eros goes back in time, towards childhood, towards the mother or father, towards earlier stages of history & culture, towards a lost Paradise. The propelling movement is of course sexual, but it drives through the sexual act to a rebirth...

    • Notebook 12
      (pp. 127-270)

      [1] I wish to make my third large book a study of the symbolic universe, a kind of Divine Comedy in criticism. Its tentative title, based on the coincidence of a common business term publicized by Expo and the last paragraph of Kant′sCritique of Pure Reason, is ″The Critical Path.″¹ Its theme, like Dante′s, is that of the passage through and out of the labyrinth (another Expo echo).

      [2] I have been thinking about this book for years, but my first real lead into it came from a paper I did on Milton′s imagery.² There I discovered the principle...

    • Notebook 24
      (pp. 271-336)

      [1] I suppose a good deal of this is material to be put in the ″postulates″ at the beginning, but still it may help here. Meaning is derived from context; for a work of literature there are two contexts, intentional discourse and literature as a whole. This duality is related to, & if not suggested by perhaps itself suggested, the distinction of content and form. For a myth there are similarly two contexts, the cultural or anthropological one, and the context within a mythology, which is structural or formal. Then comes the argument that literature descends from mythology.

      [2] For anything...

  10. Work in Progress
    (pp. 337-346)

    [1] When I was about fourteen, I developed the ambition to write eight great novels. The ambition was founded on something still earlier, connected with music, and is probably based ultimately on some ogdoadic diagram in my unconscious which enabled me to respond to Blake, among other things. I can still remember having this ambition as late as my freshman year at college. In a fourteen-year-old′s typically pretentious way, I had given them all impressive titles, one word each: Liberal, Tragicomedy, Anticlimax, Rencontre, Mirage, Paradox, Twilight. Why those names have stuck with me all these years I don′t know, but...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 347-440)
  12. Index
    (pp. 441-480)