Literary theorist Northrop Frye transformed the field of literary criticism with his revolutionary book, Anatomy of Criticism. Published in 1957, Anatomy was globally recognized as one of the 20th century’s most influential works. In it, Frye made the argument that literary criticism exists as a discipline that is independent from literature itself. The University of Toronto professor took a highly structured, scientific approach to criticism, attempting to create a literary “taxonomy,” akin to the method biologists use to classify animals.
His analysis of literary archetypes, verbal motifs and patterns of storytelling continues to be influential today, even as new schools of thought have emerged in the intervening decades.