Romantic hero

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The Romantic hero is a literary archetype referring to a character that rejects established norms and conventions, has been rejected by society, and has their-selves as the center of their own existence. [1] The Romantic hero is often the protagonist in a literary work, and the primary focus is on the character's thoughts rather than their actions.

Archetypal literary criticism is a type of critical theory that interprets a text by focusing on recurring myths and archetype in the narrative, symbols, images, and character types in literary work. As a form of literary criticism, it dates back to 1934 when Maud Bodkin published Archetypal Patterns in Poetry.

Protagonist the main character of a creative work

A protagonist is a main character of a story.

Contents

Characteristics

Literary critic Northrop Frye noted that the Romantic hero is often "placed outside the structure of civilization and therefore represents the force of physical nature, amoral or ruthless, yet with a sense of power, and often leadership, that society has impoverished itself by rejecting". [1] Other characteristics of the Romantic hero include introspection, the triumph of the individual over the "restraints of theological and social conventions", [1] wanderlust, melancholy, misanthropy, alienation, and isolation. [2] However, another common trait of the Romantic hero is regret for their actions, and self-criticism, often leading to philanthropy, which stops the character from ending romantically. An example of this trait is Edmond Dantès in The Count of Monte Cristo.[ citation needed ]

Northrop Frye Canadian literary critic and literary theorist

Herman Northrop Frye was a Canadian literary critic and literary theorist, considered one of the most influential of the 20th century.

Introspection is the examination of one's own conscious thoughts and feelings. In psychology, the process of introspection relies exclusively on observation of one's mental state, while in a spiritual context it may refer to the examination of one's soul. Introspection is closely related to human self-reflection and is contrasted with external observation.

<i>Wanderlust</i> strong desire to travel the world

Wanderlust is a strong desire to wander or travel and explore the world.

Usually estranged from his more grounded, realist biological family and leading a rural, solitary life, the Romantic hero may nevertheless have a long-suffering love interest, him or herself victimised by the hero's rebellious tendencies, with their fates intertwined for decades, sometimes from their youths to their deaths. (See Tatyana Larina, Elizabeth Bennet, Eugenie Grandet, et al.)

Elizabeth Bennet Pride and Prejudice character

Elizabeth Bennet is the protagonist in the 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. She is often referred to as Eliza or Lizzy by her friends and family. Elizabeth is the second child in a family of five daughters. Though the circumstances of the time and environment push her to seek a marriage of convenience for economic security, Elizabeth wishes to marry for love.

History

The Romantic hero first began appearing in literature during the Romantic period, in works by such authors as Byron, Keats, Goethe, and Pushkin, and is seen in part as a response to the French Revolution. As Napoleon, the "living model of a hero", [3] became a disappointment to many, the typical notion of the hero as upholding social order began to be challenged.

John Keats English Romantic poet

John Keats was an English Romantic poet. He was one of the main figures of the second generation of Romantic poets, along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, despite his works having been in publication for only four years before his death from tuberculosis at the age of 25.

French Revolution Revolution in France, 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

Napoleon 19th century French military leader and politician

Napoléon Bonaparte was a French statesman and military leader of Italian descent who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was Emperor of the French as Napoleon I from 1804 until 1814 and again briefly in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over much of continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, and his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history.

Examples

Classic literary examples of the Romantic hero include:

Captain Ahab fictional character from the novel Moby-Dick

Captain Ahab is a fictional character and the main protagonist in Herman Melville's Moby-Dick (1851). He is the monomaniacal captain of the whaling ship Pequod. On a previous voyage, the white whale Moby Dick bit off Ahab's leg, and he now wears a prosthetic leg made out of whalebone. The whaling voyage of the Pequod ends up as a hunt for revenge on the whale, as Ahab forces the crew members to support his fanatical mission. When Moby Dick is finally sighted, Ahab's hatred robs him of all caution, and the whale drags Ahab to the bottom of the sea.

Herman Melville American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet

Herman Melville was an American novelist, short story writer, and poet of the American Renaissance period. Among his best known works are Typee (1846), a romantic account of his experiences of Polynesian life, and his masterpiece Moby-Dick (1851).

<i>Moby-Dick</i> novel by Herman Melville

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is an 1851 novel by American writer Herman Melville. The book is sailor Ishmael's narrative of the obsessive quest of Ahab, captain of the whaling ship Pequod, for revenge on Moby Dick, the giant white sperm whale that on the ship's previous voyage bit off Ahab's leg at the knee. A contribution to the literature of the American Renaissance, the work's genre classifications range from late Romantic to early Symbolist. Moby-Dick was published to mixed reviews, was a commercial failure, and was out of print at the time of the author's death in 1891. Its reputation as a "Great American Novel" was established only in the 20th century, after the centennial of its author's birth. William Faulkner confessed he wished he had written the book himself, and D. H. Lawrence called it "one of the strangest and most wonderful books in the world" and "the greatest book of the sea ever written". Its opening sentence, "Call me Ishmael", is among world literature's most famous.

See also

Byronic hero

The Byronic hero is a variant of the Romantic hero as a type of character, named after the English Romantic poet Lord Byron. Both Byron's own persona as well as characters from his writings are considered to provide defining features to the character type.

Romanticism period of artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that started in 18th century Europe

Romanticism was an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalization of nature—all components of modernity. It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, education, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. It had a significant and complex effect on politics, with romantic thinkers influencing liberalism, radicalism, conservatism and nationalism.

Related Research Articles

François-René de Chateaubriand French writer, politician, diplomat and historian

François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand, was a French writer, politician, diplomat and historian who founded Romanticism in French literature. Descended from an old aristocratic family from Brittany, Chateaubriand was a royalist by political disposition. In an age when a number of intellectuals turned against the Church, he authored the Génie du christianisme in defense of the Catholic faith. His works include the autobiography Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe, published posthumously in 1849–1850.

<i>The Sorrows of Young Werther</i> 1774 novel by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The Sorrows of Young Werther is a loosely autobiographical epistolary novel by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, first published in 1774. A revised edition followed in 1787. It was one of the most important novels in the Sturm und Drang period in German literature, and influenced the later Romantic movement. Goethe, aged 24 at the time, finished Werther in five-and-a-half weeks of intensive writing in January–March 1774. The book's publication instantly placed the author among the foremost international literary celebrities, and was among the best known of his works. Towards the end of Goethe's life, a personal visit to Weimar became a crucial stage in any young man's Grand Tour of Europe.

Philip Marlowe fictional character created by Raymond Chandler

Philip Marlowe is a fictional character created by Raymond Chandler. Marlowe first appeared under that name in The Big Sleep, published in 1939. Chandler's early short stories, published in pulp magazines like Black Mask and Dime Detective, featured similar characters with names like "Carmady" and "John Dalmas".

<i>The Long Goodbye</i> (novel) novel by Raymond Chandler

The Long Goodbye is a novel by Raymond Chandler, published in 1953, his sixth novel featuring the private investigator Philip Marlowe. Some critics consider it inferior to The Big Sleep or Farewell, My Lovely, but others rank it as the best of his work. Chandler, in a letter to a friend, called the novel "my best book".

Romantic poetry

Romantic poetry is the poetry of the Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century. It involved a reaction against prevailing Enlightenment ideas of the 18th century, and lasted from 1800 to 1850, approximately.

Années de pèlerinage is a set of three suites for solo piano by Franz Liszt. Much of it derives from his earlier work, Album d'un voyageur, his first major published piano cycle, which was composed between 1835 and 1838 and published in 1842. Années de pèlerinage is widely considered as the masterwork and summation of Liszt's musical style. The third volume is notable as an example of his later style. Composed well after the first two volumes, it displays less virtuosity and more harmonic experimentation.

History of modern literature

The history of literature in the Modern period in Europe begins with the Age of Enlightenment and the conclusion of the Baroque period in the 18th century, succeeding the Renaissance and Early Modern periods.

<i>Childe Harolds Pilgrimage</i> poem by Lord Byron

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage is a lengthy narrative poem in four parts written by Lord Byron. It was published between 1812 and 1818 and is dedicated to "Ianthe". The poem describes the travels and reflections of a world-weary young man who, disillusioned with a life of pleasure and revelry, looks for distraction in foreign lands. In a wider sense, it is an expression of the melancholy and disillusionment felt by a generation weary of the wars of the post-Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. The title comes from the term childe, a medieval title for a young man who was a candidate for knighthood.

19th-century French literature literature-related events in France during the 19th century

19th-century French literature concerns the developments in French literature during a dynamic period in French history that saw the rise of Democracy and the fitful end of Monarchy and Empire. The period covered spans the following political regimes: Napoleon Bonaparte's Consulate (1799–1804) and Empire (1804–1814), the Restoration under Louis XVIII and Charles X (1814–1830), the July Monarchy under Louis Philippe d'Orléans (1830–1848), the Second Republic (1848–1852), the Second Empire under Napoleon III (1852–1871), and the first decades of the Third Republic (1871–1940).

Literature of the 19th century refers to world literature produced during the 19th century. The range of years is, for the purpose of this article, literature written from (roughly) 1799 to 1900. Many of the developments in literature in this period parallel changes in the visual arts and other aspects of 19th-century culture.

The sentimental novel or the novel of sensibility is an 18th-century literary genre which celebrates the emotional and intellectual concepts of sentiment, sentimentalism, and sensibility. Sentimentalism, which is to be distinguished from sensibility, was a fashion in both poetry and prose fiction beginning in the eighteenth century in reaction to the rationalism of the Augustan Age.

Mr. Darcy Price and Prejudice character

Fitzwilliam Darcy, generally referred to as Mr. Darcy, is one of the two central characters in Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice. He is an archetype of the aloof romantic hero, and a romantic interest of Elizabeth Bennet, the novel's protagonist. The story's narration is almost exclusively from Elizabeth's perspective; the reader is given a one-sided view of Darcy for much of the novel, but hints are given throughout that there is much more to his character than meets the eye. The reader gets a healthy dose of dramatic irony as Elizabeth continually censures Mr. Darcy's character despite the aforementioned hints that Mr. Darcy is really a noble character at heart, albeit somewhat prideful. Usually referred to only as "Mr. Darcy" or "Darcy" by characters and the narrator, his first name is mentioned twice in the novel.

<i>René</i> (novella) short novella by François-René de Chateaubriand

René is a short novella by François-René de Chateaubriand, which first appeared in 1802. The work had an immense impact on early Romanticism, comparable to that of Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther. Like the German novel, it deals with a sensitive and passionate young man who finds himself at odds with contemporary society. René was first published as part of Chateaubriand's Génie du christianisme along with another novella; Atala, although it was in fact an excerpt from a long prose epic the author had composed between 1793 and 1799 called Les Natchez, which would not be made public until 1826. René enjoyed such immediate popularity that it was republished separately in 1805 along with Atala.

<i>Mazeppa</i> (poem) narrative poem by Lord Byron

Mazeppa is a narrative poem written by the English Romantic poet Lord Byron in 1819. It is based on a popular legend about the early life of Ivan Mazepa (1639–1709), who later became Hetman of Ukraine. Byron's poem was immediately translated into French, where it inspired a series of works in various art forms. The cultural legacy of Mazeppa was revitalised with the independence of Ukraine in 1991.

Mal du siècle

Mal du siècle is a term used to refer to the ennui, disillusionment, and melancholy experienced by primarily young adults of Europe's early 19th century, when speaking in terms of the rising Romantic movement. François-René de Chateaubriand's protagonist René characterizes the Romantic ennui that would become a benchmark of the Romantic esthetic in the first half of the century:

René is a young man who was suffering from the moral malady known as "le mal du siècle". This was an "état d'âme" that was not uncommon during the first half of the nineteenth century, and that was often copied and idealized in literature. It was largely boredom. Other manifestations were: melancholy of an aristocratic type, precocious apathy, discouragement without cause, distaste for living. The will seemed paralyzed by the contemplation of life's struggle. Faith and a sense of duty were alike absent. Man was "possédé, tourmenté par le démon de son cœur." Morbid sadness was mistaken for the suffering of a proud and superior mind. There was in it all a certain "bonheur d'être triste" which attracted. This pessimistic state was analyzed in René with great subtlety and penetration. The hero was made a most original and living type, a type that was repeated in the Childe Harold and Manfred of Byron, and even, in some of its manifestations, in the Hernani of Victor Hugo. In the opinion of Chateaubriand, René was his masterpiece. Later judgments regarding it are not unanimous, but many authoritative French critics see in it one of the masterpieces of their literature.

Mikhail Vasilyevich Sushkov (1775–1792) was a young Russian nobleman and writer of a small body of prose and poetry, notable for his autobiographical suicide novel. He committed suicide by hanging at age 16 after writing four suicide notes, one of which was to his uncle Alexander Khrapovitsky, at that moment personal secretary of empress Catherine the Great. Empress Catherine is said to have told Khrapovitskiy: "I am sorry for his parents, who lost such a fine son. But most of all I am sorry for himself. If he had stayed alive, he soon would have outshone Voltaire". Sushkov’s suicide notes, the report on his death by the Moscow police, and reactions by contemporaries, not only document the suicide in great detail, but give a rare close-up of a phenomenon that was seen as a highly significant ‘sign of the time’.

Sentimentalism is a practice of being sentimental, and thus tending toward basing actions and reactions upon emotions and feelings, in preference to reason.

Romantic thriller Film genre

A Romantic thriller or a romance thriller is a narrative that involves romance and thriller. Etymology of the word thrill comes from English root meaning “to pierce”. A thrill is a sharp sensation.

Romantic literature in English

Romanticism was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century. Scholars regard the publishing of William Wordsworth's and Samuel Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads in 1798 as probably the beginning of the movement, and the crowning of Queen Victoria in 1837 as its end. Romanticism arrived in other parts of the English-speaking world later; in America,it arrived around 1820.

References

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  2. Knapp, Bettina L. (April 1986). "Review: The Romantic hero and his heirs in French literature". The French Review. American Association of Teachers of French. 59 (5): 787–788. ISSN   0016-111X. JSTOR   i216560.
  3. Furst, Lilian R. (Spring 1976). "The romantic hero, or is he an anti-hero?". Studies in the Literary Imagination. 9 (1): 53–67.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "What are examples of a romantic hero?". Reference.com.
  5. Lukić, Darko. "DRAMATIZATION OF THE NOVEL - TRANSLATION THROUGH TIME AND SPIRITUAL SPACES". Pandur Theaters. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  6. Innes, Christopher; Shevtsova, Maria (2013). The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Directing. Cambridge University Press. p. 28. ISBN   9780521844499 . Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  7. Kinkaid, Victoria (November 25, 2014). "Why Mr. Darcy is Such an Appealing Romantic Hero". victoriakinkaid.com. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  8. "Lord Byron". Gale Contextual Encyclopedia of World Literature. Gale. 2009. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  9. Blanch Serrat, Francesca. "Romantic readings: Childe Harold, by Lord Byron". Dove Cottage & the Wordsworth Museum. Retrieved 6 January 2019. It was the year 1809 and Byron had already defined the myth that was to survive him to become one of the most reproduced tropes in our culture: the Romantic hero. Through the Romantic hero that Childe Harold embodies, Byron will attempt to recover from the sufferings of exile.
  10. Eco, Umberto (2011). Inventing the Enemy: Essays. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 105–106. ISBN   9780547640976 . Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  11. Salstad, Louise. "Juan Anguera, alias Flanagan: Ironic Hard-boiled Hero". The Looking Glass : New Perspectives on Children's Literature. Retrieved 6 January 2019. Both Marlowe and Flanagan are knightly heroes in their way. The emblematic image of the knight--romantic hero if there ever was one--appears on page one of Chandler's first novel about Marlowe, The Big Sleep. The author refers to him in "The Simple Art of Murder" in a famous passage that evokes the image of a modern knight errant: "[D]own these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. . . . The story is his adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure" (Chandler, Later 992).
  12. Guinness, Gerald (1993). Here and Elsewhere: Essay on Caribbean Literature. Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico. p. 43. ISBN   0847701913 . Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  13. Gerwin, Elisabeth. "François-René, Vicomte de Chateaubriand: René". The Literary Encyclopedia. Retrieved 1 January 2019. Indeed, René has been identified as the text that created and popularised the superior but melancholic romantic hero suffering from profound disillusionment.
  14. "Johann Wolfgang von Goethe". Poetry in Translation. Retrieved 1 January 2019. In 1774 he published his first major work, the self-revelatory novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, in which he created the prototype of the Romantic hero, and instigated a European fashion.
  15. Fiero, Gloria K. (1998). The Humanistic Tradition, Volume 5. WCB Brown & Benchmark. p. 48. ISBN   9780697340726 . Retrieved 6 January 2019.