The Necessary Unity of Opposites: The Dialectical Thinking of Northrop Frye

Brian Russell Graham

© 2010

Northrop Frye's thinking is characterized by its broad range of interests, including the poetry of William Blake, literary theory, the function of the university, Cold War politics, and Scripture. In The Necessary Unity of Opposites, Brian Russell Graham contends that it was the method of Frye's thinking - his dialectic ability to see opposing concepts as a unity rather than a dichotomy - that allowed him to transcend binary constructs and formulate new conclusions and questions about literature, politics, and society.

To discover the unity in oppositional concepts as seen by Frye, Graham deals with the main areas of Frye's work, including Blake's poetry, secular literature, education and work, politics, and Scripture. In each area, Graham expertly clarifies Frye's distinctive mode of thought, while drawing attention to its origins in the works of Blake. In its entirety, the study provides a fascinating conceptual framework for Frye's thinking which emphasizes its towering critical importance.

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  • Page Count: 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
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Graham contends that it was the method of Frye's thinking - his dialectic ability to see opposing concepts as a unity rather than a dichotomy - that allowed him to transcend binary constructs and formulate new conclusions and questions about literature, politics, and society.

The Necessary Unity of Opposites: The Dialectical Thinking of Northrop Frye

Brian Russell Graham

© 2010

Northrop Frye's thinking is characterized by its broad range of interests, including the poetry of William Blake, literary theory, the function of the university, Cold War politics, and Scripture. In The Necessary Unity of Opposites, Brian Russell Graham contends that it was the method of Frye's thinking - his dialectic ability to see opposing concepts as a unity rather than a dichotomy - that allowed him to transcend binary constructs and formulate new conclusions and questions about literature, politics, and society.

To discover the unity in oppositional concepts as seen by Frye, Graham deals with the main areas of Frye's work, including Blake's poetry, secular literature, education and work, politics, and Scripture. In each area, Graham expertly clarifies Frye's distinctive mode of thought, while drawing attention to its origins in the works of Blake. In its entirety, the study provides a fascinating conceptual framework for Frye's thinking which emphasizes its towering critical importance.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    The Necessary Unity of Opposites is a lively, incisive exploration into a dimension of Northrop Frye's mind and work that has been largely neglected, and that certainly has never been analysed before with this degree of clarity and thoroughness. Brian Russell Graham skilfully recounts the essentials of Frye's thought without distorting or oversimplifying his positions. The Necessary Unity of Opposites is useful both as an introduction to Frye's work and as a study of how one of the twentieth century's major thinkers understood society and politics.
    Alvin Lee, Professor Emeritus, McMaster University; General Editor of the Collected Works of Northrop Frye

    Brian Russell Graham has an excellent command both of Northrop Frye's works and of the secondary material surrounding them. He is therefore able to demonstrate clearly how Frye's dialectical thinking permitted him to move beyond political and social dichotomies of left and right. Additionally, The Necessary Unity of Opposites illustrates why Frye remains relevant to the contemporary horizon of criticism.
    J. Russell Perkin, Department of English, Saint Mary's University
  • Author Information

    Brian Russell Graham is an assistant professor in the Department of Culture and Global Studies at Aalborg University in Denmark.

  • Table of contents

    Preface and Acknowledgments
    Abbreviations

    1. Introduction
    2. Mandarin and Rebel: Frye’s Dialectical Secular Thinking
    3. Beauty and Truth I: Frye’s Theory of Blake’s Poetry
    4. Beauty and Truth II: Frye’s Theory of Secular Literature
    5. Work and Leisure: Frye on the Individual in Society
    6. Freedom and Equality: Frye’s Political Philosophy
    7. Belief and Vision: Frye on Scripture
    8. Epilogue

    Notes
    Bibliography
    Index