XEROX Unit 9 The Common Ground of Frye and McLuhan (p143-163).docx

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University of Toronto St. George
St. Michael's College Courses
Steve Hoselton

Frye and McLuhan – similarities and differences of their background Similarities Differences Both studied partially in England Frye Oxford In 1930s McLuhan Cambridge Both U of T teachers Frye from East (Moncton) McLuhan from West (Edmonton) Both have conservative beliefs and habits Both in perspective, grounded in religious principles Both have superficially similar concerns for myth Both came to Toronto Frye’s “Haunted by lack of Ghosts” McLuhan’s “Canada: The Borderline Case” Transformation in Canadian creative imagination Broad cultural justification for these changes from pioneers’ days to the present Effects of media innovations and applications Canada has advantage over other cultures with electrified global culture For Frye, there is a sense of belonging to an In McLuhan, pride of citizenship comes with the certainty environment that’s growing to maturity of being where the action is, in global terms Both positions come from the shared ground, the “place” – geographical locus, that subliminally sets the path of collective imagination Focus on haunting image of Leviathan – figured McLuhan focuses on the peculiar character of Canadian as land that engulfs early settlers Identity: Cultural transformations were brought about by Canada is a land of multiple borderlines – with low the development of technology and they response profile identity – and THIS reflects the ideal pattern of to diff mythological outlook – from the need to electronic living. While Americans are melting pot, communicate Canadians keep a borderline mentality – for McLuhan, Frye shifts from Leviathan to Minotaur – this is the vortex of energy, how Canadians are in and out Canadian poetry used to be lonely – now it at the same time – at an interface position, resonating reflects what is once physical and human nature interval. through – camera obscura Frye “development of tech makes for growing introversion in life” – imaginative process and new media creating communal introversion. Ex) high-rise buildings, tunnel-like streets, radio, TV, etc. Both Frye and McLuhan have their basic concern for the interaction for man with nature – “Where man is not, nature is barren”. In the realm of human constructs, Frye focuses on products of imagination, but McLuhan focuses relevance assigned to tangible objects. Frye was ONLY a literary critic. He did not make statements about culture other than what he had found on literature. McLuhan focused on common matrix of all human artifacts, that he called media or technologies – even when such creations were only products of mind and not tangible objects. This explained McLuhan’s multidisciplinary approach – he looks for patterns and processes among vast information. Therefore, while McLuhan is dynamic – Frye’s has a fixed archetype. How McLuhan saw Frye’s work…  McLuhan was comparing Inside Blake and Hollywood with Parker Tyler’s Magic and Myth of the Movies – an unsurprising thing of McLuhan, working on “pattern” recognition.  Btw these two works, McLuhan finds a replacement of the linear perspective by a multi-locational/circular point of view.  McLuhan refers to Frye’s theory to Vico’s “intellectual means of being simultaneously present in all periods of the past and all mental climates of the modern world as well”.  Another instance where McLuhan looks at Frye’s work is in an unpublished review called Anatomy o
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