Three years ago, almost to the day, Maureen Kincaid Speller and I had lunch with Niall Harrison, Jonathan McCalmont and Paul Graham Raven. During the course of the lunch, Maureen mentioned that she was reading Northrop Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism. The upshot was, we decided to read the book together, and take turns blogging about it. The first three parts of this exercise were published on Maureen’s blog, Paper Knife: Maureen on ‘Polemical Introduction’; Paul Graham Raven on ‘First Essay: Historical Criticism; Theory of Modes’; and Niall Harrison on ‘Second Essay: Ethical Criticism: Theory of Symbols’. For various reasons, the exercise ground to a halt at that point. But I have just unearthed my own notes on Fourth Essay: Rhetorical Criticism: Theory of Genres, and thought it worth while presenting them here.
What follows is partly written up, but mostly in note form. But I think there is perhaps some interesting stuff nonetheless, if only because it shows the shaping and development of my own ideas on the subject. Quotations are from the Penguin 1990 edition. Continue reading