Frye, Northrop (nôrˈthrəp) [key], 1912–91, Canadian literary critic, b. Quebec. In 1936 he was ordained as a minister in the United Church of Canada. In 1948 he was appointed professor of English at Victoria College, of which he was later principal (1959–66). Fearful Symmetry (1947) is an authoritative study of William Blake's symbolism and religious mysticism. His most influential study, Anatomy of Criticism (1957), a synoptic overview of the principles and techniques of literary criticism, attempts to uncover and categorize the underlying myths and archetypes of world literature. The Great Code: The Bible and Literature (1982) is a discourse on the narrative and stylistic devices of the Bible. His other major works include The Well-Tempered Critic (1963), as well as studies of Shakespeare, Milton, T. S. Eliot, and the English romantic poets.
See studies by D. Cook (1986) and I. Balfour (1988); bibliography by R. D. Denham (1987).