Thursday, 21 October 2010

The Dark Hero, Books, Links etc

This page will be my dumping ground for links and comments as I trawl the net in preparation for my Dark Hero course. A proper web-log = blog!

This page on the The Norton Anthology of English Literature site was my inspiration for the course. Or, at least, it was the one that suggested to me that I might be able to establish a course that focusses on the "Satanic and Byronic Hero": that there were sufficient resources to do it and that it could be justified in academic terms. (Although, I decided it would be best to use the term "Dark Hero" rather than "Satanic Hero": there is no point frightening the horses, is there?) This is how the page begins …

Not until the age of the American and French Revolutions, more than a century after Milton wrote Paradise Lost, did readers begin to sympathize with Satan in the war between Heaven and Hell, admiring him as the archrebel who had taken on no less an antagonist than Omnipotence itself, and even declaring him the true hero of the poem.

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This site by Brouke M. Rose-Carpenter for a fifth-year unit (LITR 5535: American Romanticism) at University of Houston-Clear Lake seems like a great starting point.

I like this list of Byronic characteristics:

1. A rebel
2. Does not possess the usual “heroic virtues”
3. Dark Qualities
4. Larger than life
i. Intellectual capacity
ii. Self respect
iii. Hypersensitivity
5. Moody by nature
6. Struggles with integrity
7. Distaste for social institutions and social norms
8. Exiled, outcast, or outlaw
9. Cynical
10. Loner
11. Passionate about a particular issue
12. Emotional
13. Rebels against life itself
14. Arrogant
15. Confident
16. Troubled past
17. Often characterized by some unknown sexual crime
18. Extremely conscious of himself
19. A figure of repulsion, as well as fascination

I also liked the list of Byronic characters she has collected

Cain, Genesis
Romeo, Romeo and Juliet
Satan, Paradise lost
The Flying Dutchman
The Wondering Jew
Rochester, Jane Eyre
Heathcliff, Wuthering Heights
Conrad, The Corsair
Childe Harold
Giaour, The Gaiour
Manfred Astarte,
Ancient Mariner, Rhyme to the Ancient Mariner
George Vavasor, Can you forgive her?
T.J. Swift, Stranger in her Bed

Bruce Wayne, Batman
Gabriel Van Helsing, Van Helsing
Corbin Dallas, The Fifth Element
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean
Professor Snape, Harry Potter’s
Hell boy, Hellboy
William Wallace, Brave heart
John Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Any character, X-men
Shrek, Shrek’s
Ranger, The Stephanie Plum series
Lucivar, Saetan, and Daemon, The Black Jewels Trilogy and Dreams Made Flesh

Better still, the Byronic heroine

Nikita, La femme Nikita
Xena, Xena: The Warrior Princess
Lara Croft, Tomb Raider
Jane Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Surreal, The Black Jewels Trilogy, & Dreams Made Flesh
Domino Harvey, Domino
Le-lo, The Fifth Element

I don't think that Le-lo is a Byronic heroine, and both Lara Croft and Jane Smith seem to be simply action heroes. Still, it is a start.

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As for books: it looks like this is the best recent coverage of the Byronic hero-type, although after only six years the focus on Angel and the absence of more recent figures makes the book seem a little dated.

Atara Stein, The Byronic Hero in Film, Fiction, and Television (2004) is a must. Unfortunately, it is not held at Monash (*sigh*) and so I will have to order it … but it looks good on Google books.

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Most of the links on this page (The Faust Tradition from Marlowe to Mann) are dead, but I expect most are still somewhere online, so I will try to recreate the live links here soon.

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