Giving Milton's Lucifer a run for his money
June 20, 2011 4:19 PM Subscribe
What are some literary and critical sources-- traditional canon and alternative/media-- for anti-heroes in literature? Special emphasis on characters that seem relevant to the figures of Lucifer and Dionysus, as well as the opposites in philosophy of Heaven and Hell. Special love for the Romantics and the Byronic hero.
posted by reenka to writing & language (31 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I'm doing the second quarter of a two-quarter Independent Study (and/or Senior Thesis project) this summer and I've already covered The Iliad and Paradise Lost, and they're currently at my center of study. I've also included The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Byron's Manfred, Goethe's Faustus, and considered The Aeneid. I'm planning to read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Wuthering Heights and Dracula. I'm considering Melville and some of Shakespeare's plays, but I feel I've read the one that applies the most (The Tempest). I've already read Dante, Antigone and the Oedipus plays by Sophocles and Frankenstein (all of which seem relevant but a bit tangential). The connection to Dionysos is in contrast, and also because I'm writing a novella that utilizes these themes that's about Dionysos. I'm also interested in connections to a figure like Prometheus, and am considering reading Shelley's Prometheus Unbound and Aeschylus' play.
I'm open to stuff like graphic novels but I dunno if they fit into my main focus-- it's more of a peripheral citation. I do think characters like Magneto and Noir movie/detective fiction heroes fit in pretty well. I'd prefer to find some roots or echoes in canon heroic literature. I'm considering reading more stereotypically epic hero sagas (anything from Beowulf to Irish Celtic myths), but think that's also tangential. There's lots of stuff that has anti-heroes on the sidelines, but I'd like to find nontraditional tragic/doomed characters that are fairy foregrounded. Achilles was there mainly as a foundation text in structure compared to Paradise Lost.
Stuff that's about heroes but twisted in some way would work too. I'm just looking to get a wider sweep than I'd get looking for things I am already aware of or interested in.