chapter  VIII
Northrop Frye 1
Pages 10

Mr. Northrop Frye proceeds to invent a quasi-mathematical critical system. But if science and art are alike Symbolic Forms a criticism which objectifies art is a strange parasite, as if one were to invent a non-mathematical way of presenting mathematics. As literature grew more complex, critical systematization declined, whereas the primitive formulations of physics gave way to complex mathematical symbolism. Mr. Frye's primitivism differs from that of less literary aestheticians in two ways: first, he is enormously well acquainted with literature; secondly, he is fascinated by ornamental design. On the assumption that 'literature shapes itself, and is not shaped externally', Frye proposes a new theory of genres. Frye is true to the broadly Symbolist view of literature as he was in declaring all works of art to be anonymous, placing precisely the same difficulties of interpretation before their own authors as they do before independent critics.