Northrop Frye John Holloway - Essay

John Holloway

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

'Pure critical theory.' 'A conceptual framework for the examination of literature.' 'A synoptic view of the scope, theory, principles and techniques of literary criticism.' When Professor Frye describes his [Anatomy of Criticism] like this, it sounds dry and daunting. Not at all: it's more like a greenhouse where the plants have had an overdose of fertilizer: the result is a riotous, exuberant tangle. This is the challenge of the book. If we take it at face value it has four parts, which claim to review the whole field of criticism, and which I could sum up in plain terms like this. First, a theory of the basic modes of narrative writing, and the contrast between fiction and non-fiction. Next, a theory of the...

(The entire section is 2004 words.)