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Northrop Frye and the Phenomenology of Myth

Northrop Frye and the Phenomenology of Myth (Paperback)

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Synopsis

In Northrop Frye and the Phenomenology of Myth, Glen Robert Gill compares Frye's theories about myth to those of three other major twentieth-century mythologists: C.G. Jung, Joseph Campbell, and Mircea Eliade. Gill explores the theories of these respective thinkers as they relate to Frye's discussions of the phenomenological nature of myth, as well as its religious, literary, and psychological significance. Gill substantiates Frye's work as both more radical and more tenable than that of his three contemporaries. Eliade's writings are shown to have a metaphysical basis that abrogates an understanding of myth as truly phenomenological, while Jung's theory of the collective unconscious emerges as similarly problematic. Likewise, Gill argues, Campbell's work, while incorporating some phenomenological progressions, settles on a questionable metaphysical foundation. Gill shows how, in contrast to these other mythologists, Frye's theory of myth - first articulated in Fearful Symmetry (1947) and culminating in Words with Power (1990) - is genuinely phenomenological.

With excursions into fields such as literary theory, depth psychology, theology, and anthropology, Northrop Frye and the Phenomenology of Myth is essential to the understanding of Frye's important mythological work.

Glen Robert Gill is an assistant professor in the Department of Classics and General Humanities at Montclair State University.

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