More on Marshall McLuhan & Northrop Frye


It's the 100th anniversary of the birth of Northrop Frye, Canada's most distinguished literary critic, who died in 1991.

Northrop Frye (1912-1991) – Photo by Fred Phipps

The following quote is from B.W. Powe’s new book about Marshall McLuhan and Northrop Frye, announced in the posting below this one:-

 “I argue here that Marshall McLuhan and Northrop Frye initiated a visionary-apocalyptic tradition in Canadian letters. It is an original tradition, seminal to understanding the uniqueness of the Canadian spirit. Their range of thought, the depth of their perceptions and speculations, the complexity of their engagements, the impact of their writings, the drama of their ideas, the effects of their intensities of insight and foresight are still being attacked, absorbed, debated, and adapted by critics, philosophers, writers, and teachers. McLuhan and Frye form an exciting alternative visionary protocol to other (European-based) theoretical propositions, a distinct intellectual re-creative stance. They were an audacious pair. So compressed and allusive, provocative and inspirational is their work that I will say that they are our most necessary literary figures. Certainly, they continue to be among the most influential authors in what I call the Canadian sublime, the essential literary and intellectual tradition emerging through our writers and artists, thinkers and poet-philosophers. – Powe. B.W. (2014). Marshall McLuhan and Northrop Frye: Apocalypse and Alchemy. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, pp. 11-12.


This video is from the Frye Festival in Moncton, New Brunswick, during the centenary year of Northrop Frye’s birth in 2012. It shows a performance by two actors depicting an encounter between Frye and McLuhan in the waiting area of Toronto’s Pearson Airport and their ensuing conversation during the flight delay(duration 12: 13):

See the following previous postings about McLuhan & Frye:

Northrop Frye’s References to Marshall McLuhan in Correspondence: 

Bruce Powe’s Lecture on McLuhan and Frye:

This lecture looks at the the first meetings of what are arguably Canada’s best known and most influential thinkers, and their 34 year dialogue with one another through their books, lectures, notes and comments. It is the premise of B.W. Powe’s new book on his two teachers that McLuhan and Frye are the sources for an original indigenous visionary tradition. The lecture will look at their conflicts and their harmonies of thought; it will explore how central they are to the Canadian experience of technology and identity. We are still catching up to these two figures who are encoded in our mythological landscape.

 B.W. Powe

No Responses Yet to “More on Marshall McLuhan & Northrop Frye”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: