Simon's Reviews > Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays

Anatomy of Criticism by Northrop Frye
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Jul 28, 07

Read in July, 2007

OK, it's certainly silly to give this book such a low rating, but honestly, I found it bad. The Polemical Introduction was intriguing but left one wanting to know exactly what he thought the science of criticism would be like. The first essay, on modes, was a taxonomy by principles (the status of the hero relative to 'us') that didn't seem all that intuitive to me. And at the end, there seemed little beyond taxonomy. What this had to do with the goal of explaining the literary phenomena, which I thought, from the Introduction, was the goal, I don't know. Then, the second essay, began to deal with issues related to the philosophy of language: meaning, reference, etc. I found his treatment of these topics maddeningly jejune, confused and insensitive to distinctions. It made me so frustrated that I gave up reading at that point.

I wish someone would explain why I'm wrong, and what I'm missing.
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message 1: by Bren (new)

Bren really? you're really reading this? yours admiringly/skeptically,


Simon Have you read it? I'm reading the second of the essays at the moment. It deals with issues in the philosophy of language and I'm finding it terrible. Very confused. I'd love to know if he's still rated, what people take away from him, etc.?


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