The Correspondence of Northrop Frye and Helen Kemp, 1932-1939: Volume 1


Product Details

University of Toronto Press
Publish Date
6.54 X 1.9 X 9.54 inches | 2.26 pounds
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About the Author

Northrop Frye (1912-1991) was one of the twentieth century's most influential English scholars and literary critics. Northrop Frye was a professor in the Department of English at Victoria University in the University of Toronto from 1939 until his death. His works include Words with Power and Anatomy of Criticism.

Robert D. Denham is the John P. Fishwick Professor of English Emeritus at Roanoke College.


'The propulsive force of narrative, the drive of the romance plot, together with the archetypal nature of the human bond whose progression these letters trace, all kept me entranced.'

- Nella Cotrupi - Books in Canada

'Frye was that rare creature, a prodigy whose promise was entirely fulfilled. How this came about - through the love a woman both good and wise, as in many old-fashioned tales - is the true subject of this collection.'

- Robert Fulford - The Globe and Mail

'Editor Robert D. Denham has done a stellar job of assembling the letters into a testament which not only celebrates a reciprocal meeting of minds, but reveals the private "Norrie" Frye who hovered behind the formidable public personality...The letters teem with good talk and they are warm and engaging as well as scholarly, literate and full of high purpose. Denham has done Canadians a service in making sure this correspondence, clearly an important historical document, has been unearthed and published.'

- Nancy Schiefer - The London Free Press

'Friends and lovers, favorite confidants, and finally husband and wife, Frye and Kemp maintained a lively correspondence ... This meticulously annotated collection ... reveal[s] the personality of the young scholar at a time when he was considering the ministry, engrossed in music, and fascinated with Blake.'

- N. Tischler - Choice

'[Frye] triumphs through the sheer unremitting shining-forth of his wit, his impatience, his clear promise of what's to come. In short, the book documents the early years of an unmistakable and close-to-unique intelligence.'

- Don Coles - The Globe and Mail

'The letters themselves ... are breezy and bantering, full of teasing rebukes and playful intimacies ... Denham's footnotes are not only admirably thorough, they are indispensable. Without them, how could we tell the difference between Aunts Dolly, Hatty and Evelyn? How would we find out whether Helen had passed her economics course or what Norrie sent her for Christmas? To read somebody else's mail is to be immersed in the pathos of life's details - news and rumors that mattered to somebody, once. It is strangely touching to see these little things, these pieces of a shared life, treated with so much care and respect.'

- Bruce Taylor - Montreal Gazette

'These two beautifully produced and edited volumes are a bonus for scholars, who will now be able to trace the genesis of many of Frye's ideas. But the correspondence is also a treasure in its own right. With their wit, robust energy, lovingness and playful brilliance, these love letters are among the most fascinating ever published in the country - and should banish forever the notion of Frye as an intellectual iceberg.'

- John Bemrose - Maclean's