The Well-tempered Critic

The Well-tempered Critic

Book - 1983
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"Northrop Frye's The Well-Tempered Critic is a brilliant take on writing, academia, and culture as a whole. His book is unique from other critiques on literary theory as he emphasizes the importance of the language spoken and not just language written. Frye writes in his first chapter, "Good writing must be based on good speech, it will never come alive it is based on reading alone."

"Frye divides language into a three-part model and walks the reader through each little nook-and-cranny of his idea. He divides language into the Poetic (rhythm caused by the beat of the words), Prose (rhythm caused by the sentence), and Associate (informal, everyday kind of talk.) Frye also divides the written language into his last chapter: Hieratic (High style) and Demiotic (low style).

"Frye's work is full of insight and intellectualism, and void of the intimidation factor which might be associated with a piece by Keats, Bloom, Eagleton, and other big name critics. Frye's diction is invitingly instructive, docilely dense, and meekly meticulous. His attention to detail and organization of thought work well to ensure the reader's comprehension of Frye's obvious intellect."

-- By D.A. Wetherell

Publisher: Markham, Ont. : Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1983
ISBN: 9780889027466
0889027463
Characteristics: 160 p. ; 19 cm

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