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Antihero

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Title: Antihero  
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Antihero

An antihero or antiheroine is a protagonist who lacks conventional heroic qualities such as idealism, courage, and morality.[1][2][3][4][5]

Contents

  • History 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • Further reading 4
  • External links 5

History

The antihero archetype can be traced back at least as far as Homer's Thersites.[6] The concept has also been identified in classical Greek drama,[7] Roman satire, and Renaissance literature[6] such as Don Quixote[7][8] and the picaresque rogue.[9]

The term antihero was first used as early as 1714,[5] emerging in works such as Rameau's Nephew in the 18th century,[10] and is also used more broadly to cover Byronic heroes as well.[11]

Literary Romanticism in the 19th century helped popularize new forms of the antihero,[12][13] such as the Gothic double.[14] The antihero eventually became an established form of social criticism, a phenomenon often associated with the unnamed protagonist in Fyodor Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground.[15] The antihero emerged as a foil to the traditional hero archetype, a process that Northrop Frye called the fictional "centre of gravity."[16] This movement indicated a literary change in heroic ethos from feudal aristocrat to urban democrat, as was the shift from epic to ironic narratives.[16]

The antihero became prominent in early 20th century existentialist works such as Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis (1915),[17] Jean-Paul Sartre's La Nausée (1938) (French for Nausea),[18] and Albert Camus' L'Étranger (1942) (French for The Stranger).[19] The protagonist in these works is an indecisive central character who drifts through his life and is marked by ennui, angst, and alienation.[20]

The antihero entered American literature in the 1950s and up to the mid-1960s was portrayed as an alienated figure, unable to communicate.[21] The American antihero of the 1950s and 1960s (as seen in the works of Jack Kerouac, Norman Mailer, et al.) was typically more proactive than his French counterpart; with characters such as Kerouac's Dean Moriarty famously taking to the road to vanquish his ennui.[22] The British version of the antihero emerged in the works of the "angry young men" of the 1950s.[7][23] The collective protests of Sixties counterculture saw the solitary antihero gradually eclipsed from fictional prominence,[24] though not without subsequent revivals in literary and cinematic form.[25]

See also

References

  1. ^ "American Heritage Dictionary Entry: antihero". Ahdictionary.com. 2013-01-09. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  2. ^ "anti-hero - definition of anti-hero by Macmillan Dictionary". Macmillandictionary.com. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  3. ^ "Antiheroine - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Merriam-webster.com. 2012-08-31. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  4. ^ "anti-hero: definition of anti-hero in Oxford dictionary (British & World English)". Oxforddictionaries.com. Retrieved 2014-09-06. 
  5. ^ a b "Antihero - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Merriam-webster.com. 2012-08-31. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  6. ^ a b Steiner, George (2013). Tolstoy Or Dostoevsky: An Essay in the Old Criticism. New York: Open Road. pp. 197–198.  
  7. ^ a b c "antihero (literature) - Encyclopedia Britannica". Britannica.com. 2013-02-14. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  8. ^ "Literary Terms and Definitions A". Web.cn.edu. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  9. ^ Halliwell, Martin (2007). American Culture in the 1950s (Transferred to Digital Print 2012 ed.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univ. Press. p. 60.  
  10. ^ Steiner, George (2013). Tolstoy Or Dostoevsky: An Essay in the Old Criticism. New York: Open Road. pp. 199–200.  
  11. ^ "Literary Terms and Definitions B". Web.cn.edu. Retrieved 2014-09-06. 
  12. ^ Alsen, Eberhard (2014). The New Romanticism: A Collection of Critical Essays. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis. p. 72.  
  13. ^ Simmons, David (2008). The Anti-Hero in the American Novel: From Joseph Heller to Kurt Vonnegut (1st ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 5.  
  14. ^ Lutz, Deborah (2006). The Dangerous Lover: Gothic Villains, Byronism, and the Nineteenth-century Seduction Narrative. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. p. 82.  
  15. ^ Steiner, George (2013). Tolstoy Or Dostoevsky: An Essay in the Old Criticism. New York: Open Road. pp. 201–207.  
  16. ^ a b Frye, Northrop (2002). Anatomy of Criticism. London: Penguin. p. 34.  
  17. ^ Barnhart, Joe E. (2005). Dostoevsky's Polyphonic Talent. Lanham: University Press of America. p. 151.  
  18. ^ Asong, Linus T. (2012). Psychological Constructs and the Craft of African Fiction of Yesteryears: Six Studies. Mankon: Langaa Research & Publishing CIG. p. 76.  
  19. ^ Gargett, Graham (2004). Heroism and Passion in Literature: Studies in Honour of Moya Longstaffe. Amsterdam [u.a.]: Rodopi. p. 198.  
  20. ^ Brereton, Geoffery (1968). A Short History of French Literature. Penguin Books. pp. 254–255. 
  21. ^ Hardt, Michael; Weeks, Kathi (2000). The Jameson Reader (Repr. ed.). Oxford, UK ; Malden, Mass.: Blackwell. pp. 294–295.  
  22. ^ Edelstein, Alan (1996). Everybody is Sitting on the Curb: How and why America's Heroes Disappeared. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. p. 18.  
  23. ^ Ousby, Ian (1996). The Cambridge Paperback Guide to Literature in English. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 27.  
  24. ^ Edelstein, Alan (1996). Everybody is Sitting on the Curb: How and why America's Heroes Disappeared. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. p. 1.  
  25. ^ Hardt, Michael; Weeks, Kathi (2000). The Jameson Reader (Repr. ed.). Oxford, UK ; Malden, Mass.: Blackwell. p. 295.  

Further reading

  • Simmons, David (2008). The Anti-Hero in the American Novel: From Heller to Vonnegut. Palgrave Macmillan.  

External links

  • Saturday Night and Sunday Morning Character Analysis
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