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Encyclopedia > Romantic hero

The romantic hero is a literary type referring to a character that rejects established norms and conventions, has been rejected by society, and has the self as the centre of his or her own existence[1]. The romantic hero is often the main protagonist in the literary work and there is a primary focus on the character's thoughts rather than his or her actions. 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, alienation, and isolation[2]. The romantic hero first began appearing in literature during the Romantic period, in works by such authors as Byron, Percy Shelley, and Goethe, 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. Classic literary examples of the romantic hero include Byron's Don Juan and Chateaubriand's René (novella)[4], while J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter may be considered a modern example[5]. A protagonist is the central figure of a story. ... Herman Northrop Frye, CC, MA, D.Litt. ... Look up Wanderlust in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Melancholia (Greek μελαγχολια) was described as a distinct disease as early as the fifth and fourth centuries BC in the Hippocratic writings. ... The poet George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron is often referred to simply as Byron. ... Percy Bysshe Shelley Percy Bysshe Shelley (August 4, 1792 - July 8, 1822) was one of the major English Romantic poets. ... Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (pronounced [gø tə]) (August 28, 1749–March 22, 1832) was a German writer, politician, humanist, scientist, and philosopher. ... The French Revolution(1789-1799) was a period of major political and social change in the political history of France and Europe as a whole, during which the French governmental structure, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges for the aristocracy and Catholic clergy, underwent radical change to forms based... For other uses, see Napoleon (disambiguation). ... Don Juan is a legendary fictional libertine, whose story has been told many times by different authors. ... The Chateaubriand steak is a thick cut from the center of the filet, created by his personal chef for vicomte François-René de Chateaubriand, (1768 –1848), the author and diplomat who served Napoleon as an ambassador and Louis XVIII as Secretary of State for two years. ... Joanne Rowling OBE (born July 31, 1965 in Chipping Sodbury, South Gloucestershire), commonly known as J.K. Rowling (pronunciation: roll-ing; her former students used to joke with her name calling her the Rolling Stone), is a British fiction writer. ... This article is about the Harry Potter series of novels. ...

See Also

Romanticism is an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in 18th century Western Europe. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


  1. ^ a b c Wilson, J.D. (1972). Tirso, Molière, and Byron: The emergence of Don Juan as romantic hero. The South Central Bulletin, 32(4), 246-248.
  2. ^ Knapp, B.L. (1986). Review: The romantic hero and his heirs in French literature. The French Review, 59(5), 787-788.
  3. ^ Furst, L.R. (1976). The romantic hero, or is he an anti-hero? Studies in the Literary Imagination, 9(1), 53-67.
  4. ^ Reed, W.L. (1974). Meditations on the hero: A study of the romantic hero in nineteenth-century fiction. New Haven: Yale University Press.
  5. ^ Nikolajeva, M. (2003). Harry Potter: A return to the romantic hero. In E. Heilman (Ed. and introd.) Harry Potter's World: Multidisciplinary Critical Perspectives (pp. 125-140). New York, NY: Routledge.



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