Anatomy of Criticism

Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays

Northrop Frye
Edited by Robert D. Denham
Volume: 22
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 672
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt2tth1v
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Anatomy of Criticism
    Book Description:

    This volume, the twenty-second in the acclaimed Collected Works of Northrop Frye series, presents Frye's most influential work,Anatomy of Criticism(1957).

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8401-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Editorʹs Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Abbreviations and Short Titles
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Editorʹs Introduction
    (pp. xvii-2)

    In the commonplace manner of speaking, things well known need no introduction, andAnatomy of Criticism,being republished now in the year of its golden anniversary, is as well known as any critical text of the last century. Its arguments have been with us for a long time, and its ends and means have been repeatedly anatomized by countless readers, sympathizers as well as detractors. Its influence has been widespread in the Anglo-American critical world and beyond. In the English Institute volume devoted to Fryeʹs book less than a decade after its publication, Murray Krieger advanced the bold opinion that...

  6. PREFATORY STATEMENTS AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. 3-4)
    N.F.
  7. POLEMICAL INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 5-30)

    This book consists of ʺessays,ʺ in the wordʹs original sense of a trial or incomplete attempt, on the possibility of a synoptic view of the scope, theory, principles, and techniques of literary criticism. The primary aim of the book is to give my reasons for believing in such a synoptic view; its secondary aim is to provide a tentative version of it which will make enough sense to convince my readers thataview, of the kind that I outline, is attainable. The gaps in the subject as treated here are too enormous for the book ever to be regarded...

  8. First Essay HISTORICAL CRITICISM: THEORY OF MODES
    (pp. 31-64)

    In the second chapter of thePoeticsAristotle speaks of the differences in works of fiction which are caused by the different elevations of the characters in them.¹ In some fictions, he says, the characters are better than we are, in others worse, in still others on the same level. This passage has not received much attention from modern critics, as the importance Aristotle assigns to goodness and badness seems to indicate a somewhat narrowly moralistic view of literature. Aristotleʹs words for good and bad, however, arespoudaiosandphaulos, which have a figurative sense of weighty and light. In...

  9. Second Essay ETHICAL CRITICISM: THEORY OF SYMBOLS
    (pp. 65-120)

    Of the problems arising from the lack of a technical vocabulary of poetics, two demand special attention.¹ The fact, already mentioned, that there is no word for a work of literary art is one that I find particularly baffling. One may invoke the authority of Aristotle for using ʺpoemʺ in this sense, but usage declares that a poem is a composition in metre, and to speak ofTom Jonesas a poem would be an abuse of ordinary language. One may discuss the question whether great works of prose deserve to be called poetry in some more extended sense, but...

  10. Third Essay ARCHETYPAL CRITICISM: THEORY OF MYTHS
    (pp. 121-224)

    In the art of painting it is easy to see both structural and representational elements. A picture is normally a picture ʺofʺ something: it depicts or illustrates a ʺsubjectʺ made up of things analogous to ʺobjectsʺ in sense experience. At the same time there are present certain elements of pictorial design: what a picture represents is organized into structural patterns and conventions which are found only in pictures. The words ʺcontentʺ and ʺformʺ are often employed to describe these complementary aspects of painting. ʺRealismʺ connotes an emphasis on what the picture represents; stylization, whether primitive or sophisticated, connotes an emphasis...

  11. Fourth Essay RHETORICAL CRITICISM: THEORY OF GENRES
    (pp. 225-316)

    The present book employs a diagrammatic framework that has been used in poetics ever since Platoʹs time. This is the division of ʺthe goodʺ into three main areas, of which the world of art, beauty, feeling, and taste is the central one, and is flanked by two other worlds. One is the world of social action and events, the other the world of individual thought and ideas. Reading from left to right, this threefold structure divides human faculties into will, feeling, and reason. It divides the mental constructs which these faculties produce into history, art, and science and philosophy. It...

  12. TENTATIVE CONCLUSION
    (pp. 317-330)

    The present book has dealt with a variety of critical techniques and approaches, most of them already used in contemporary scholarship. We have tried to show where the archetypal or mythical critic, the aesthetic form critic, the historical critic, the medieval four-level critic, the text-and-texture critic, belong in a comprehensive view of criticism. Whether the comprehensive view is right or not, I hope some sense has been communicated of what folly it would be to try to exclude any of these groups from criticism. As was said at the beginning, the present book is not designed to suggest a new...

  13. GLOSSARY
    (pp. 331-334)
  14. Appendix 1: Editions, Translations, and Audioforms of Anatomy of Criticism
    (pp. 335-338)
  15. Appendix 2: Title Pages of Translations of Anatomy of Criticism
    (pp. 339-354)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 355-414)
  17. Emendations
    (pp. 415-416)
  18. Index
    (pp. 417-450)