Beyond the "Dissolving Phantasmagoria"

Homer, Douglas Bruce
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University of Guelph

Northrop Frye is important in the history of literary criticism, particularly in Canada where his critical thought coincided with the maturation of Canadian writing in the middle twentieth century. Much has been written about him, and continues to be written, because of his historical importance and his role as educator. However, less is written about how his thought can contribute to contemporary Canadian criticism. This thesis argues that Frye remains relevant to Canadian criticism today and that Frye can show us how to view our current situation in a new way. Much recent criticism in Canada has argued that CanLit is broken, largely because issues of race, gender, and Indigeneity are not adequately reflected. I show, by reading contemporary criticism and Frye’s work together, how Frye’s pedagogy, his theoretical practice, and his Canadian criticism provide ways to intervene creatively and productively in contemporary Canadian criticism.

Canadian literature, Northrop Frye, Critical Theory, Education, Canadian literary criticism, Archetypal criticism, Myth