Nella Cotrupi

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Caterina Nella Cotrupi is an Italian-born Canadian author, lawyer, scholar, and educator. She has also been a candidate for public office. Her scholarly work on Canadian literary theorist, Northrop Frye, has focused on the social function of literature and the role that metaphorical language plays in process poetics. She has written and presented on the links between process theology and process poetics.

Cotrupi's book, Northrop Frye and The Poetics of Process, was the first major work to explore how Longinian poetics, the theories of Giambattista Vico, and process thinking influenced Frye's writing. Taking her cue from Frye's notion that cultural and literary works function as the laboratory for fashioning new and hopefully, better worlds, she explores the notion that some literature does indeed function as a secular scripture, carving out a path for individual and collective moral acts.

In 2002 she delivered the keynote address to the Northrop Frye Festival titled "Process and Possibility: Northrop Frye’s Spiritual Vision".

Cotrupi was a candidate for political office in the riding of Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada, during one provincial election and one federal election.

Called to the Ontario bar in 1980, she practiced law in a Toronto legal clinic providing services to low income and immigrant groups in the 1980s and later, in the 1990s with a Toronto law firm specializing in not-for-profit and charity law. During this time she served on the board of A-Way, a Toronto-based company founded and staffed by individuals who had experienced mental health challenges.

Throughout the period of her legal practice, and more currently during her business involvements in the field of continuing professional and legal education, Nella Cotrupi has continued to teach and make presentations on subjects associated with literature and the social and moral processes literature fuels.



Northrop Frye and The Poetics of Process. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000.


"Process and Possibility: Northrop Frye's Spiritual Vision" Keynote address delivered April 27, 2002 at the Northrop Frye International Literary Festival, Moncton. Ellipse, No.69, Spring 2003.54-57. Also published as "Process and Possibility: The Spiritual Vision of Northrop Frye" in Verticals of Frye. Edward Lemond ed. Moncton: 2005.

"The Body and the Spirit" Review of The Diaries of Northrop Frye (Volume 8 of the Collected Works of Northrop Frye) for Books in Canada, April 2002.

"Northrop Frye: Turning the Sacred Cow of Ideology out to Pasture" Review of Rereading Frye, ed. David V. Boyd and Imre Salusinszky for Books in Canada, May 1999.

"What Happened to Helen?" Review of The Correspondence of Northrop Frye and Helen Kemp, 1932-1939. Books in Canada, December 1996.

"Verum Factum: Viconian Markers Along Frye's Path." The Legacy of Northrop Frye. Alvin A. Lee and Robert D. Denham eds. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994.

"Vico, Burke and Frye's Flirtation with the Sublime." Giambattista Vico and Anglo-American Science, Philosophy and Writing. Marcello Danesi ed. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1994.

"Hyper-metafiction: Italo Calvino's If on a Winter's Night a Traveler." Style, Vol.25, No.2, Summer 1991. 289-90.

Book Reviews published in Books in Canada


"For Pat Lowther," opening poem in "A Tribute to Pat Lowther, on what would have been her 75th birthday," 2010,[1] page 9, published by the League of Canadian Poets.

"Helenae Uxori," a poem dedicated to the memory of Helen Kemp Frye, classmate and wife of Northrop Frye, published in "A Giant in Time,"[2] p 126.

See also[edit]

Caterina N. Cotrupi, Northrop Frye and the Poetics of Process (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000.) ISBN 978-0-8020-8141-4

Keynote address to the 2002 Frye Festival, "Process and Possibility: Northrop Frye's Spiritual Vision"

Vico, Burke, and Frye's Flirtation with the Sublime

Richmond Hill NDP profile of Nella Cotrupi

Cited in Italo Calvino as Author/Game-master in If on a winter's night a traveler


  1. ^ Living Archives of the Feminist Caucus, the League of Canadian Poets
  2. ^ Ellipse, no 87-88, 2012


  • Greco, Heidi, and Jaffe, Ellen S., Editors, "A Tribute to Pat Lowther, on what would have been her 75th birthday," Living Archives of the Feminist Caucus, The League of Canadian Poets, Toronto, 2011, ISBN 978-1-896216-34-8
  • Lemond, Edward and Cyr, Suzanne, Editors, "A Giant in Time: An Anthology of Writings in Honour of Northrop Frye's 100th Birthday," Revue Ellipse Mag, Fredericton, New Brunswick, No 87-88, 2012, ISSN 0046-1830