4.0926 The Loss of Northrop Frye (1/20)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Wed, 23 Jan 91 17:20:30 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0926. Wednesday, 23 Jan 1991.

Date: Wed, 23 Jan 91 12:38:25 EST
From: Germaine Warkentin <WARKENT@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: A Death in the Family

At a time of such madness in the world it may be an intrusion to speak of
personal sorrow, but perhaps, given the name of our seminar, we should
not fail to take note of the death early this morning in Toronto of
Northrop Frye. For those of us who teach at Victoria College it is
indeed a personal loss; his remarkable gift grew and flourished in this
place, and it is among our greatest sources of pride that he never
wanted to leave our students, our classrooms, or our faculty common
room, to all of which he gave distinction both by his eminence and his
unsurpassed modesty. Norrie was a shy man, but he had a wonderful fund
of anecdote and great wit. To my mind he was without doubt the greatest
writer Canada has so far produced, and we have much to learn about
ourselves from the fact that his chosen genre was not the novel, poem,
or play but the critical essay. Recent developments in critical theory,
it is said, had left his views on the side-lines. Though no acolyte, I
cannot agree with that. What I can testify to is his immense personal
influence on a whole generation of critics who had no hesitation in
searching out ways to knowledge very different from his. His renown
will lead to many worthy obituaries, so perhaps this note should close
simply by saying how much all of us here at Victoria College loved him.