Spiritus Mundi: Essays on Literature, Myth and Society

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9780253354327: Spiritus Mundi: Essays on Literature, Myth and Society
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This collection of a dozen major essays written in recent year is vintage Frye―the fine distillation of a lifetime of originative thinking about literature and its context. The essays in Spiritus Mundi―the title comes from one of Yeat’s best known poems, "The Second Coming," and refers to the book that was supposedly the source of Yeat’s apocalyptic vision of a "great beast, slouching toward Bethlehem"―are arranges in three groups of four essays each. The first four are about the "contexts of literature," the second are about the "mythological universe," and the last are studies of four of the great visionary or myth-making poets who have been enduring sources of interest for Frye: Milton, Blake, Yeats, and Wallace Stevens.

The volume is full of agreeable surprises: a delightful piece on charms and riddles is followed by an illuminating essay on Shakespearean romance. Like most of the other essays in the book, these two are compressed and elegant expositions of ideas that in the hands of a lesser writer would have required a book. In another selection Frye rescues Spengler from neglect and argues for the inclusion of The Decline of the West among the major imaginative books produced by the Western world. Elsewhere he advances the case for placing Copernicus in a pantheon composed primarily of literary figures. OF particular interest are several essays in which Frye comments personally and reflectively on the influence he has had on the study of literature and the reactions elicited by his work. In "The Renaissance of Books" he dissents from the opinion of the McLuhanites that the written word is showing signs of obsolescence and argues that books are "the technological instrument that makes democracy possible."

As the dozen essays collected here amply attest, Northrop Frye continues to be the most perceptive and most persuasive exponent of the power of mythological imagination―or as he himself calls it, "the mythological habit of mind"―written in Engl

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Review:

"A virtuoso performance in the 'variation form'."
- English Language Notes

"Northrop Frye never ceases to remind us that he is one of the most civilized and delightful Scholar-teachers publishing today...[Spiritus Mundi]...an essential purchase for the literary scholar."
- Book Forum

"Frye's rare qualities - ease and grace of expression, an inclusive rather than an exclusive view of literature...make all his work worth reading, but general readers may find short essays such as these most accessible and illuminating."
-- Library Journal



"A virtuoso performance in the 'variation form'."
- English Language Notes

"Northrop Frye never ceases to remind us that he is one of the most civilized and delightful Scholar-teachers publishing today...[Spiritus Mundi]...an essential purchase for the literary scholar."
- Book Forum

"Frye's rare qualities - ease and grace of expression, an inclusive rather than an exclusive view of literature...make all his work worth reading, but general readers may find short essays such as these most accessible and illuminating."
-- Library Journal



"A virtuoso performance in the 'variation form'."
- English Language Notes

"Northrop Frye never ceases to remind us that he is one of the most civilized and delightful Scholar-teachers publishing today...[Spiritus Mundi]...an essential purchase for the literary scholar."
- Book Forum

"Frye's rare qualities - ease and grace of expression, an inclusive rather than an exclusive view of literature...make all his work worth reading, but general readers may find short essays such as these most accessible and illuminating."
-- Library Journal

About the Author:

Northrop Frye, University Professor of the University of Toronto and Professor of English of Victoria College at the University of Toronto, is author of The Critical Path, The Educated Imagination, The Well-Tempered Critic, and many other books.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780253202895: Spiritus Mundi: Essays on Literature, Myth, and Society

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ISBN 10:  0253202892 ISBN 13:  9780253202895
Publisher: Indiana University Press, 1976
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9781554550104: Spiritus Mundi: Essays on Literature, Myth, and Society

Fitzhe..., 2006
Softcover

9781550410594: Spiritus Mundi: Essays on Literature, Myth, and Society

Fitzhe..., 2006
Softcover

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