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The Secular Scripture: A Study of the Structure of Romance (The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures) Paperback – January 31, 1978

ISBN-13: 978-0674796768 ISBN-10: 0674796764

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Product Details

  • Series: The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures (Book 1996)
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (January 1, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674796764
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674796768
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #622,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
Northrop Frye is probably *the* most important and most influential English-language literary critic of the 20th century-- and certainly the most important one to come from North America. _The Secular Scripture_, however, is not one of his better-known books, and that's probably for the best, as it's one of his weaker efforts. Thebook consists of six chapters, which were originally delivered as lectures during a 'special guest' stint he did at Harvard/Radcliffe a few decades back. The ostensible subject of these lectures (and, by extension, this book) is the literary genre of romance. However, like all of Frye's books, the specific topic is discussed within the context of Frye's theory of literature in general. Thus, _The Secular Scripture_ introduces the reader to Frye's general theories, such as the idea that literature possesses the same structure as myth, that there are essentially four main mythoi or plots of literature (comedy, romance, tragedy, and irony), that recurrent literary motifs/images tend to be structured around the mythic opposition of an ideally imagined world and a nightmarish demonic one, and that the only real difference between "realistic" literature and "fantastic literature) is that the mythic elements in the latter are most obvious and are presented with little narrative concealment, whereas those in the former tend to be displaced, or otherwise altered so as to be fitted into a context of "plausibility". It is within the context of these general ideas about literature that Frye enumerates what he sees as being the particular character of romance. For those unfamiliar with Frye's terminology, "romance" here does not refer to the kind of genre fiction that is typically marketed as romance-- i.e.Read more ›
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By MC on September 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
For the past couple of years, I have had an avid interest in Literary Criticism. I tend to be a traditionalist in this area, and so have a lot of respect for Northrop Frye, who was the last great proponent of an objective view of literature.
Frye's most important work is The Anatomy of Criticism, which is very insightful, but can also be difficult to understand, especially for someone new to Critical Theory.
Secular Scripture is an in-depth application of the theories presented in Anatomy of Criticism to one particular branch of literature: romance. As such, it relies more upon concrete examples than upon abstract reason, and is much easier to understand. If you are looking for a good introduction to archetypal theory in literature, this is probably the book for you.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J on January 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought it for a class. It was in decent condition and the price was great. I am a big Northrop Frye fan, was excited to read more of his theories.
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The Secular Scripture: A Study of the Structure of Romance (The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures)
This item: The Secular Scripture: A Study of the Structure of Romance (The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures)
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