17.796 Frye on disciplinarity

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Fri May 07 2004 - 16:55:04 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 796.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

             Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2004 07:31:25 +0100
             From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>
             Subject: Frye on disciplinarity

    At one time or another I have quoted Northrop Frye from memory to the
    effect that each discipline is the centre of all knowledge -- the most
    generous view I know on what disciplines can be. This is, I think,
    important enough a reference to get both right and complete. It is as follows:

    "It takes a good deal of maturity to see that every field of knowledge is
    the centre of all knowledge, and that it doesn't matter so much what you
    learn when you learn it in a structure that can expand into other

    Northrop Frye, "The Beginning of the Word". Ontario Council of Teachers
    Keynote Address, 30 October 1980. Indirections 6 (Winter 1981). Reprinted
    in Northrop Frye, On Education. Markham, Ontario: Fitzhenry & Whiteside,
    1988, pp. 9-21. The quotation occurs on p. 10.

    Among the many other utterances to which this could be connected is the old
    definition of God, "centre everywhere, circumference nowhere", which (along
    with the rest of literature in many languages) Frye would have had in mind.
    In any case it is very close to a divine view of what education is all about.


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