"Any publication by Northrop Frye is an important literary event; this one is of the highest importance to Canadian literature." — Globe and Mail
Originally published by Anansi in 1971, The Bush Garden features Northrop Frye’s timeless essays on Canadian literature and painting.
In this cogent collection of essays written between 1943 and 1969, formidable literary critic and theorist Northrop Frye explores the Canadian imagination through the lens of the country’s artistic output: prose, poetry, and paintings. In the collection, Frye offers insightful commentary on the works that shaped a "Canadian sensibility," and includes a comprehensive survey of the landscape of Canadian poetry throughout the 1950s, including astute criticism of the work of E. J. Pratt, Robert Service, Irving Layton, and many others.
Written with clarity and precision, The Bush Garden is a significant cache of literary criticism that traces a pivotal moment in the country’s cultural history, and the evolution of Frye’s thinking at various stages of his career. These essays are evidence of Frye’s brilliance, and cemented his reputation as Canada’s — and the world’s — foremost literary critic.
Northrop Frye was one of the most distinguished and respected authorities on English literature. He was Principal and Chancellor of Victoria College, University of Toronto, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Among his numerous books are The Educated Imagination, Fearful Symmetry: A Study of William Blake, Anatomy of Criticism, The Great Code, Divisions On a Ground, and The Bush Garden.
Lisa Moore is the acclaimed author of the novels Caught, February, and Alligator. Caught was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Scotiabank Giller Prize and is now a major CBC television series starring Allan Hawco. February won CBC’s Canada Reads competition, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and was named a New Yorker Best Book of the Year and a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book. Alligator was a finalist for the Scotia Bank Giller Prize, won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Canada and the Caribbean region), and was a national bestseller. Her story collection Open was a finalist for the Scotia Bank Giller Prize and a national bestseller. Her most recent work is a collection of short stories called Something for Everyone. Lisa lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
“Any publication by Northrop Frye is an important literary event; this one is of the highest importance to Canadian literature. Here Frye has collected all the essays he believes to be of permanent value on Canadian writing and painting. His tremendous intelligence and erudition is thus focused on a much smaller field of vision than it normally is. Tethered in its own backyard, as it were, this formidable creature can be observed more closely than it can be when it roams the far reaches of the literary world.” — Globe and Mail
“These reviews are still relevant, partly because Frye is such a good critic and partly because his reviews embraced such a wide range of poetry that, perhaps especially in retrospect, they provide a fascinating sense of process through which a literature develops . . . We can respond to the immediate perceptions of a subtle and literate critical mind.” — Maclean’s
“Frye’s handiwork is equivalent to most everyone’s masterwork. Nor can I imagine a more perceptive book being written about the Canadian poetic imagination. Northrop Frye resembles nobody so much as a poet Midas — everything he touches turns into poetic metaphor.” — Toronto Star
“Perhaps the most remarkable thing about The Bush Garden is that it reveals Northrop Frye as a practical critic. He does not try to fit everything he reads into preconceived theories, and the range of his sympathies is admirably wide. And he succeeds in demonstrating the importance for Canadian writers of their Canadian forebears.” — CBC Anthology
“Many academic critics are like a laboratory scientist, not much good in the field; in The Bush Garden, Frye shows himself as good a field critic as he is a theoretical one. He recognizes the splendor of a bird on the wing as surely as he describes its anatomy in the lecture hall.” — Victoria Daily Times
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