About this book
The Bush Garden
Essays on the Canadian Imagination
Lisa Moore • Northrop Frye
"Any publication by Northrop Frye is an important literary event; this one is of the highest importance to Canadian literature." — Globe and Mail
Originally published by Anansi in 1971, The Bush Garden features Northrop Frye’s timeless essays on Canadian literature and painting.
In this cogent collection of essays written between 1943 and 1969, formidable literary critic and theorist Northrop Frye explores the Canadian imagination through the lens of the country’s artistic output: prose, poetry, and paintings. In the collection, Frye offers insightful commentary on the works that shaped a "Canadian sensibility," and includes a comprehensive survey of the landscape of Canadian poetry throughout the 1950s, including astute criticism of the work of E. J. Pratt, Robert Service, Irving Layton, and many others.
Written with clarity and precision, The Bush Garden is a significant cache of literary criticism that traces a pivotal moment in the country’s cultural history, and the evolution of Frye’s thinking at various stages of his career. These essays are evidence of Frye’s brilliance, and cemented his reputation as Canada’s — and the world’s — foremost literary critic.
The question of Canadian identity, so far as it affects the creative imagination, is not a “Canadian” question at all, but a regional question. An environment turned outward towards the sea, like so much of Newfoundland, and one turned towards inland seas, like so much of the Maritimes, are an imaginative contrast: anyone who has been conditioned by one in his early years can hardly be conditioned by the other in the same way. Anyone brought up on the urban plain of Southern Ontario or the gentle pays farmland along the south shore of the St. Lawrence may become fascinated by the great sprawling wilderness of Northern Ontario or Ungava, may move their and live with its people and become accepted as one of them, but if he paints or writes about it he will paint or write as an imaginative foreigner. And what can there be in common between an imagination nurtured on the prairies, where it is a centre of consciousness diffusing itself over a vast flat expanse stretching to a remote horizon, and one nurtured in British Columbia, where it is in the midst of gigantic trees and mountains leaping into the sky all around it, and obliterating the horizon everywhere?
About the Creators
Lisa Moore is the acclaimed author of the novels Caught, February, and Alligator. Caught was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Scotiabank Giller Prize and is now a major CBC television series starring Allan Hawco. February won CBC’s Canada Reads competition, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and was named a New Yorker Best Book of the Year and a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book. Alligator was a finalist for the Scotia Bank Giller Prize, won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Canada and the Caribbean region), and was a national bestseller. Her story collection Open was a finalist for the Scotia Bank Giller Prize and a national bestseller. Her most recent work is a collection of short stories called Something for Everyone. Lisa lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Northrop Frye was one of the most distinguished and respected authorities on English literature. He was Principal and Chancellor of Victoria College, University of Toronto, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Among his numerous books are The Educated Imagination, Fearful Symmetry: A Study of William Blake, Anatomy of Criticism, The Great Code, Divisions On a Ground, and The Bush Garden.