Ricoeur and Frye on Myth
For my purpose of setting Frye in conversation Paul Ricoeur, I have chosen a few recurrent topics that twentieth-century writers on myth treat. Some of the topics come from a list of the salient features of myth in Percy S. Cohen's" Theories of Myth." I His list, based upon his survey of theorists in our century, is helpful because it tends to represent what has been called" the social science cartel" or the area from which most theorizing on myth has come.2 It seems possible to distinguish between three different but successive approaches to myth in this century. At the beginning of it are theorists, such as Freud, whose treatment of myth is reductive. From such a viewpoint, myth is nothing but whatever the theorist is primarily interested in. Some later writers on myth, among them lung, Eliade, and Campbell, tend to seek the recovery of myth for our time. For Ricoeur, the "restoration" of myth is an aim. The Frye of the Anatomy assumes writers in our time are engaged in a return. In The Secular Scripture the recovery of myth is envisioned, while the Bible and literature books seem to outline the possible" recreation" of myth. Both Ricoeur and Frye enter into earlier writers on myth and both endeavor to go beyond them. If they go beyond them, it is only after entering into their predecessors' works.