Cover image for Words with power : being a second study of "the Bible and literature"
Words with power : being a second study of "the Bible and literature"
Frye, Northrop.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Diego : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, [1990]

Physical Description:
xxiv, 342 pages ; 24 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN56.B5 F74 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Frye continues his exploration, begun in The Great Code, of the influence of Biblical themes and forms of expression on Western literature, with discussions of authors ranging from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Yeats and Eliot. Frye identifies four key elements found in the Bible-the mountain, the garden, the cave, and the furnace-and describes how they recur in later secular writings. Indices.

Author Notes

Herman Northrop Frye was born in 1912 in Quebec, Canada. His mother educated him at home until the fourth grade. After graduating from the University of Toronto, he studied theology at Emmanuel College for several years and actually worked as a pastor before deciding he preferred the academic life. He eventually obtained his master's degree from Oxford, and taught English at the University of Toronto for more than four decades.

Frye's first two books, Fearful Symmetry (1947) and Anatomy of Criticism (1957) set forth the influential literary principles upon which he continued to elaborate in his numerous later works. These include Fables of Identity: Studies in Poetic Mythology, The Well-Tempered Critic, and The Great Code: The Bible and Literature.

Frye died in 1991.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Frye (1912-1991) analyzes the Bible's imagery, narrative structure and influence upon literary classics in his tremendously rich sequel to The Great Code: The Bible and Literature . (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In his introduction to The Great Code ( LJ 6/1/82), Frye promised a sequel to his work on ``the Bible and literature.'' Here is the promised volume, though it is not an entirely new book. In Part 1, Frye restates his critical position, his structural principle: the identity of mythology and literature. In Part 2, he focuses on specific mythological themes (mountain, garden, cave, furnace) that are variations of the cosmic axis mundi image. Throughout, he demonstrates his interest in the mythological structures that inform literature, including the Bible, instead of simply the literary characteristics of the Bible. While it is undeniable that myths often serve as structuring elements in the Bible, occasionally Frye allows myth criticism to overwhelm the text rather than shed light upon it. Thus there is the risk of forcing the text into the pre-established structure. This aside, there is enlightenment available for readers willing to work through it. Recommended.-- Craig W. Beard, Har ding Univ. Lib., Searcy, Ark. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.