Whether you call it synchronicity, coincidence, or the Hand of God, the city of Toronto has occupied an oddly pivotal position in my life. I developed a fascination with the city when I was eleven, when I learned that one of my favorite bands was from there — and a few years later, another would join the list. In high school, SCTV was part of my circle of friends’ shared culture (Yeah, I know it was shot in Winnipeg, but hey…), and later, another comedy troupe from T.O. kept me laughing through the Nineties.
And it’s shown up in my academic life as well. When I decided to specialize in medieval literature on my return to grad school, I learned that the U of T hosts one of North America’s great centers for such work. As I worked on the dissertation, I spent time both in their library and in the offices of the University’s Records of Early English Drama project.
And of course, there’s Northrop Frye, about whom I’ve written on numerous occasions. This year marks his centenary, and the U of T’s house organ currently includes a very nice feature by Alec Scott on the man and his career. Scott talks to Frye’s former students and others as part of this overview, and he also explains why Frye’s approach has, regrettably, gone out of fashion. If you’re interested in literary study, or in portraits of great thinkers and teachers, the article is worth your time.