Northrop Fryes Theory of Archetypes Compiled by Dilip Barad Dept. of English, M.K. Bh. It was not until the work of the Canadian literary critic Northrop Frye that archetypal criticism was theorized in purely literary terms. The major. “The Archetypes of Literature” by Northrop Frye – Free download as PDF File .pdf ), Text File .txt) or read online for free. Northrop Frye. The Kenyon Review, Vol.

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Pages Home About this Blogger: Monday, 29 December Northrop Frye: The Archetypes of Literature. The Archetypes of Literature What is Archetypal Criticism? What are the sources of its origin?

In literary criticism the term archetype denotes recurrent narratives designs, patterns of action, character-types, themes, and images which are identifiable in a wide lietrature of works of literature, as well as in myths, dreams, and even social rituals.

Such recurrent items are held to be the result of elemental and universal forms or patterns in the human psyche, whose effective embodiment in a literary work evokes a profound response from the attentive reader, because he or she shares notthrop psychic archetypes expressed by the author.

An important antecedent of the literary theory of the archetype was the treatment of myth by a group of comparative anthropologists at Cambridge University, especially James G. Frazerwhose The Golden Bough identified elemental patterns of myth and ritual thatclaimed, recur in the legends and ceremonials of diverse and far-flung cultures and religions.

An even more important antecedent was the depth psychology of Carl G. Where is archetypal literary criticism manifested? Who are pioneers of archetypal literary criticism? What types of archetypal themes, images and characters are traced in literature by them? Apart from him, the other prominent practitioners of various modes of archetypal criticism were G. These critics tended to emphasize the occurrence of mythical patterns in literature, on the assumption that myths are closest to the elemental archetype than the artful manipulation of sophisticated writers.

It was not until the work of the Canadian literary critic Northrop Frye that archetypal criticism was theorized in purely literary terms.

Archetypal literary criticism

In his remarkable and influential book Anatomy of CriticismN. Frye developed the archetypal approach into a radical and comprehensive revision of traditional grounds both in the theory of literature and the practice of literary criticism.

For Frye, the death-rebirth myth that Frazer sees manifest in agriculture and the harvest is not ritualistic since it is involuntary, and therefore, must be done. As for Jung, Frye was uninterested about the collective unconscious on the grounds of feeling it was unnecessary: How archetypes came to be was also of no concern to Frye; rather, the function and effect of archetypes is his interest.


In this literary universe, four radical mythoi i. Each category is further subdivided into two categories: Though he is dismissive of Frazer, Frye uses the seasons in his archetypal schema. Each season is aligned with a literary genre: Also, spring symbolizes the defeat of winter and darkness. Satire is a disillusioned and mocking form of the three other genres. It is noted for its darkness, dissolution, the return of chaos, and the defeat of the heroic figure. The context of a genre determines how a symbol or image is to be interpreted.

Frye outlines five different spheres in his schema: In contrast, the tragic human world is of isolation, tyranny, and the fallen hero. As for the tragic, vegetation is of a wild forest, or as being barren. With the tragic, the seas, and especially floodssignify the water sphere. But in fact, arguments about generic blends such as tragicomedy go back to the Renaissanceand Frye always conceived of genres as fluid. Frye thought literary forms were part of a great circle and were capable of shading into other generic forms.

Diagram of his wheel in Anatomy of Criticism [4].

Archetypes fall into two major categories: It is easiest to understand them with the help of examples. Listed below are litrature of the most common archetypes in each category.

A female character type who brings upon catastrophic and disastrous events. Eve from the story of Genesis or Pandora from Greek mythology are two such figures. Seta, Draupadi or Surparnakha. Sun fire and sky are closely bu All cultures believe the Cosmos was brought into existence by some Supernatural Being or Beings.

If winter has come, can spring be far behind? April is the cruelest month…. Concave images ponds, flowers, cups, vases, hollows: Phallic symbols towers, mountain peaks, snakes, knives, swords, etc. Dancing, riding, or flying: Archetypes can be found in nearly all forms of literaturewith their motifs being predominantly rooted in folklore.

William Shakespeare is known for creating many archetypal characters that hold great social importance in his native land, such as.

Hamletthe self-doubting hero and the initiation archetype with the three stages of separation, transformation, and return. Falstaffthe bawdy, rotund comic knight. Romeo and Julietthe ill-fated “star-crossed” lovers. Richard IIthe hero who dies with honor; and many others. Although Shakespeare based many of his characters on existing archetypes from fables and myths e. For instance, in The TempestShakespeare borrowed from a manuscript by William Strachey that detailed an actual shipwreck of the Virginia -bound 17th-century English sailing vessel Sea Venture in on the islands of Bermuda.

Shakespeare also borrowed heavily from a speech by Medea in Ovid ‘s Metamorphoses in writing Prospero ‘s renunciative speech; nevertheless, the unique combination of these elements in the character of Prospero created a new interpretation of the sage magician as that of a carefully plotting hero, quite distinct from the wizard-as-advisor archetype of Merlin or Gandalf. Both of these are likely derived from priesthood authority archetypes, such as Celtic Druidsor perhaps Biblical figures like AbrahamMosesetc.


Retrieved from ” http: Available in the UHS Library. Northrop Frye, The Literary Encyclopedia: Anatomy of CriticismBook Review: It includes the study of how meaning is constructed and understood. Syntactics is the branch of semiotics that deals with the formal properties of signs and symbols.

Metonymy may be instructively contrasted with metaphor. Both figures involve the substitution of one term for another. While in metaphor, this substitution is based on similarity, in metonymy the substitution is based on contiguity. Metaphor – The ship plowed through the sea. Metonymy – The sails crossed the ocean. In cognitive linguisticsmetonymy refers to the use of a single characteristic to identify a more complex entity and is one of the basic characteristics of cognition.

It is common for people to take one well-understood or easy-to-perceive aspect of something and use that aspect to stand either for the thing as a whole or for some other aspect or part of it. A few commonly used examples of metonymy are: Circe transformed her enemies, or those who offended her, into animals through the use of magical potions. She was renowned for her knowledge of drugs and herbs.

A Theory of Modes,” “Ethical Criticism: A Theory of myths ,” and “Rhetorical Criticism: A Theory of Genres.

The archetypes of literature – Northrop Frye – UGC NET English

She is an archetypal character of literature and art. What does the archetypal critic do? What is Frye trying prove by giving an analogy of ‘ Physics to Nature’ and ‘Criticism to Literature’? Share your views of Criticism as an organised body of knowledge.

Mention relation of literature with history and philosophy. Briefly explain inductive method with illustration of Shakespeare’s Hamlet’s Grave Digger’s scene. Briefly explain deductive method with reference to an analogy to Music, Painting, rhythm and pattern. Give examples of the outcome of deductive method.

The Archetypes of Literature by Stacey V on Prezi

Refer to the Indian seasonal grid below. If you can, please read small Gujarati or Hindi or English poem from the archetypal approach and apply Indian seasonal grid in the interpretation. Posted by Dilip Barad at Archetypal criticismarchetypes of literaturecarl jungcollective unconsciousnessgolden boughjames frazermaud baudkinmythos gridNorthrop Frye.

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