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Portrait of Northrop Frye
Portrait by Jeff Sprang

Portrait of a Master

Artist paints tribute to literary theorist Northrop Frye

Renowned literary theorist Northrop Frye (BA 1933 VIC, DLitt Sac. Hon. 1977), a professor at Victoria College from 1939 until his death in 1991, was known among his students for the long pauses in his lectures as he awaited questions from the class.

Portraitist Jeff Sprang (BA 1976 VIC) was one of Frye’s students who, during those periods of silence, sat in awe of a professor he considered “not just brilliant but kind.” Working from photo references and memory, Sprang painted an ever-thinking Frye in front of a blackboard as both a tribute to the man and a donation to their shared alma mater. The portrait was unveiled at Victoria University in April. Signed limited-edition prints are available for sale through the Victoria alumni office.

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