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"And it was unbelievably exciting to have Frye and McLuhan within a country mile of you."
The investigator noted Frye "has come to our attention" on a number of occasions, including involvement in a letter questioning Canada's complicity in the Vietnam conflict, and his role on the honourary board of an international educational forum or "teach in" on China at the University of Toronto in 1966.
Several pages of the Frye file though close to half a century old were completely withheld from release because they contain personal information about others or material still deemed sensitive to Canada's security. Though an ordained minister, he settled into the academic arena, publishing a path breaking interpretation of William Blake's poetry in 1947. He followed it a decade later with a highly influential work on the essence of literary criticism.
Former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, who participated in the forum on China as a student, said he would have been astonished at the time to know the Mounties were watching.
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RCMP spied on noted literary scholar Northrop Frye
The Canadian Press obtained the intelligence dossier on Frye from Library and Archives Canada under the Access to Information Act. RCMP files on individuals can be disclosed only 20 years after the person's death.
"I'm not going to second guess the RCMP, but the fact was, you know, when I was 19, 20 years old, what I knew about Norrie Frye was, he was probably the greatest living Canadian thinker, right? He and Marshall McLuhan," Ignatieff said in an interview.
"Our source felt his participation gave the Teach in a note of credibility," says the RCMP memo.
The 1967 biographical memo, prepared by an RCMP constable, reveals that at least one thing stumped the spies.
The Mounties seemed to first take note of Frye in 1960, when he served as a sponsor of the Toronto Disarmament Committee. Macpherson in the planned Norwegian quarterly Co existence.
Hewitt believes there was "an element of make work" to the RCMP Security Service's sprawling efforts to keep track of the many social causes that sprang up during the period.
The scandal ridden RCMP spy agency was disbanded in 1984 and Prada Cahier Lion Bag
But the Mounties, wary of anyone deemed influential among the burgeoning New Left, amassed hundreds of thousands of files during the Cold War monitoring key institutions such as universities, the media, churches and political organizations.
replaced by the civilian Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
Though he took a progressive stand on issues of the day, including the battle against racial segregation in South Africa, Frye expressed skepticism about the left wing student movement flowering on campuses in the '60s.
OTTAWA Canada's intelligence service spied on renowned literary scholar Northrop Frye, closely eyeing his involvement in the anti Vietnam War movement, an academic forum on China and efforts to end apartheid in South Africa.
page March 1967 memo Miu Miu Red Fringe Bag detailed Frye's biographical details, relying on a secret source for information about his wife.
He was named to the Order of Canada in 1972 and posthumously appeared on a postage stamp.
"They've got to find things to do to justify their existence," he said. "Maybe junior officers are going out to collect this information, trying to get every little tidbit that they can."
Today his contributions are recognized through the University of Toronto's Northrop Frye Centre and an annual literary festival in Moncton.
The material covers the years 1960 through 1972, after Frye had forged a reputation as one of the pre eminent western intellectuals.
Newly released archival records show the RCMP Security Service relied on a secret informant to help compile a 142 page file on the esteemed University of Toronto professor, who died in 1991 at age 78.
The next month he would write in a Toronto newspaper column, collected in his RCMP file, that many forms of social action, "on the campus and off it, are either purely symbolic or forms of private enterprise that show a touching belief in advertising and publicity stunts."
Frye's high profile would have intensified RCMP interest, said Steve Hewitt, who teaches in the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Birmingham in England.
time, we are unable to ascertain what the initial 'H' stands for in Frye's name."
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