Publication Year



Critical thinking, theory, scholar, writing, criticism, Frye


Arts and Humanities | Social and Behavioral Sciences


For the Summer, 1995 issue of The American Scholar, the editors surveyed a group of "distinguished scholars, writers and thinkers" with the question: "To what book published in the past ten years do you find yourself going back--or thinking back--most often?" The very distinguished scholar, writer, and thinker J.F. Kermode gave the following reply:

"Northrop Frye's Anatomy of Criticism, I think, would be my choice because of the amount of positive thinking I had to do in order to resist it. Frye offers you a choice of thinking him entirely right or entirely wrong. O choose the second alternative, but pay my respects to the best mind in the business except for William Empson's."

Kermode's peculiar reply is not a peculiar opinion. Beginning his publishing career with an analysis of the most cryptic selections of an underrated poet, Frye has remained a brilliant, exasperating, misunderstood critic.