Frank Kermode on Northrop Frye and Literary Cricitism

I was reading an interview with Sir Frank Kermode, when he mentioned Northrop Frye, turning to his application of literary criticism to the Bible.

Regarding Northrop Frye, he really had a world-beating system and was a very powerful mind. He was a man of extreme and orderly intelligence, and I admired him a good deal. As for his critical disappearance, I can only guess at an explanation – namely that when people really did begin to consider the world-beating system that he built, they began to see that they didn’t want it. He ruled out value judgements. When you do that you are reducing the interest of literature. You just have a kind of model for the whole of literature, you just have a system which places everything in the right kind of cog-hole. And also, of course, he grew more and more interested in the Bible. That shouldn’t have harmed him much in America but I think it’s fatal here, where nobody wants literary criticism about the Bible.

Fryre, a very noted literary critic who wrote many works, including The Great Code: The Bible and Literature, considered the entire bible a unified work with a ‘u-shaped’ plot (p128; 169). I will not go into his work here, but it is well worth the read.

Can the bible handle literary criticism?

via » Blog Archive » In Conversation with Frank Kermode.

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