Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Romancing Northrop Frye

When I came to study "Romance," it was because of Northrop Frye's The Secular Scripture: A Study of the Structure of Romance (1976). Indeed, much of my blogging has been over at The Educated Imagination where I write mostly about Frye and the Academy. As such, to start my blogging here, I present a preliminary Call for Papers, not an official CFP, but rather one which aims to get people thinking about what they might present at this conference.


Educating the Imagination: A Conference in Honour of Northrop Frye on the Centenary of His Birth.

September 27-30, 2012, University of Toronto

Twenty years after his death, Northrop Frye, the author of Fearful Symmetry and Anatomy of Criticism, continues to be one of the most read and the most quoted of literary critics. His attention to form, specifically to genre and mode, and his understanding of literature as a totality have directly influenced two later generations of critics, including Hayden White, Fredric Jameson, and Franco Moretti. In order to celebrate this ongoing legacy, the Department of English and the Centre for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto, Frye’s home throughout his career, have organized a three-day symposium in his honour.

There will be panels devoted to Frye’s specific legacy, which we are now in a better position to appreciate because of the completed publication of theCollected Works in thirty volumes. But we also invite speakers to take inspiration from Frye and to consider literary and cultural topics such as:

1. Educating the Imagination when the Humanities are under threat

Frye and Comparative Literature

2. the place of Western Literature and theory in a global context.

The spread and the provincialization of Europe.

The limits of the Great Code

3. Contemporary manifestations of traditional literary modes:

the popular romance

contemporary tragedy

irony after postmodernism

4. the place of the Bible in an era of fundamentalism and secularism

5. The survival of the literary imagination in a digital age

6. Canadian literature in a postnational age

7. The Great Code and Islam

8. History as Narrative

9. Frye and Ecology

10. Local literature, local forms

Organizers: Alan Bewell, Chair, Department of English (

Neil ten Kortenaar, Director, Centre for Comparative Literature (


  1. Welcome aboard Teach Me Tonight, Jonathan!

    I was first introduced to Frye by Eric when he posted excerpts here from Frye's Anatomy of Criticism. Frye's also very much in evidence in the underpinnings of Pamela Regis's A Natural History of the Romance Novel.

  2. Welcome to TMT, Jonathan! We're thrilled to have you. :)