Emerson's redefinition of the literary hero in the nineteenth century by means of a reinterpretation of the heroic trait nature as presented by Lord Byron and Thomas Carlyle

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Denis Charles Castellano (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Robert Stephens

Abstract: The problem taken up in this study involves Emerson's presentation of an heroic figure to America in the mid-nineteenth century. The problem arises from the earlier heroic tradition, exemplified by Byron and Carlyle, which presented the hero in terms unacceptable to American democracy. The publication of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Representative Men in 1850 both presents a more democratic heroic type, and also raises the problem of Emerson's method in his composition of this new heroic type. Emerson's new hero, the Representative Man, is an heroic type with limitations admitted by the author. This new Man, like the earlier Carlylian Great Man, is a composite of prominent historical figures evaluated in light of the particular author's standards of heroism. What increases the intensity of the problem is Emerson's tendency to use, at times, the same historical personages as Carlyle for his models. Therefore, if Emerson does present a new figure, different from the Byron-Carlyle nineteenth century hero--and even uses some of the same models previously used by his friend Carlyle-- the question of just how Emerson has created a newer heroic type presents itself.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1974
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, $d 1803-1882 $x Criticism and interpretation
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, $d 1803-1882 $x Characters $x Heroes
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, $d 1803-1882. $t Representative men
Heroes in literature

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