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HUMA 2680 Study Guide - Northrop Frye

Course Code
HUMA 2680
Barbara Lazar

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Lecture 1:
Introduction to Early Times: Literature and the imagination of the child
What is Children’s Lit
- is it the literature read to a certain age, or read at a certain age
- it’s the idea that children are pure and innocent and as they grow they become old and
- but children’s lit. is very different, because children’s literature gets criticized and
judged by adults
Kids as critics are unrealiable”- Tolkien says, that children cannot be critics, because
they will like whatever they are given
- adults often use children’s literature, as a means to escape fromthis reality
- literature is what gives you profit and delight
Educated Imagination
- we enter into one story, we enter into all stories, there is nothing new under the sun
(idea of patterns and motifs)
- all literature is the story of the loss and regaining of identity
- imagination= the power of constructing possible models of human experience (anything
goes that’s imaginatively possible-but nothing really happens)
- the way we access these characters, motifs, is by using our imagination (making
connections), by finding familiarity.
- when you like a book, you feel associated to it, you make connections
- the goal of literary teaching: “literary imagination
- Frye says that imagination creates human experience, a way of expressing your
innermost desires
- it suspends your beliefs, allows yourself to be taken away by imagination
- science is a study based on facts and from those facts you develop more facts…etc
-but in the arts, you can never develop something new, it is always going to the
same foundation and then evolves from one point
- Frye says through reading you are fulfilling two desires: wish fullfillment and anxiety
Three stages of literary language:
1) CONCIOUSNESS: how you communicate
2) SOCIAL PARTICIPATION: technical language
3) IMAGINATION: where language in a story, a literary language of imagination
- educated imagination is making connections between an actual thing and something
- A Cinderella story: basic story of “Rags to richess…a common ground
- everything comes from somewhere, you are a continuation of your parent’s past
- the purpose of educated imagination is: TOLERANCE and UNDERSTANDING
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