Northrop Frye Frank Lentricchia - Essay

Frank Lentricchia

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

There are moments in the Anatomy when Frye's problematic understanding of himself as literary scientist, with critical principles which stand free of ideology, is productive. His acute demonstrations of the provincialism of the New Critics, who assert the universal applicability of ideas which manifestly grow out of the limited reach of symbolist-ironic literature, is a case in point. Many "current critical assumptions," he says, "have a limited historical context. In our day an ironic provincialism, which looks everywhere in literature for complete objectivity, suspension of moral judgments, concentration on pure verbal craftsmanship … is in the ascendant." His overall conclusion is that "no set of critical...

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