This book critically examines how a Hero is made, sustained, and even deformed, in contemporary cultures. It brings together diverse ideas from philosophy, mythology, religion, literature, cinema, and social media to explore how heroes are constructed across genres, mediums, and traditions.
The essays in this volume present fresh perspectives for readers to conceptualize the myriad possibilities the term ‘Hero’ brings with itself. They examine the making and unmaking of the heroes across literary, visual and social cultures —in religious spaces and in classical texts; in folk tales and fairy tales; in literature, as seen in Heinrich Böll’s Und Sagte Kein Einziges Wort, Thomas Brüssig’s Heroes like Us, and in movies, like Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and in the short film like Dean Potter's When Dogs Fly. The volume also features nuanced takes on intersectional feminist representations in hero movies; masculinity in sports biopics; taking everyday heroes from the real to the reel, among others key themes.
A stimulating work that explores the mechanisms that ‘manufacture’ heroes, this book will be useful for scholars and researchers of English literature, postcolonial studies, cultural studies, film studies, media studies, literary and critical theory, arts and aesthetics, political sociology and political philosophy.
Amar Singh and Shipra Tholia
PART 1: Hero(es) across Traditions
1. The Hero – on Closer Inspection a Fool?
2. Udaaseeno Mahabalaha: Displacement of the Heroic in the Mnemocultures of India
D. Venkat Rao
3. The Other Side of Heroism: Construction and Deconstruction of the Heroic in German Literature on Greece’s Struggle for Independence in works by Wilhelm Müller, Friedrich Hölderlin and E.T.A. Hoffmann
4. Transformed Heroes: The Bīr Bābās and their Religio-Cultural Metamorphosis
PART II: Hero(es) across Fictions
5. Folktale’s Hero in the Post-Truth World
6. How to Live (Happily) Ever After: Heroic Selflessness in Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales
Julie K Allen
7. The Unheroic Hero in Heinrich Böll’s Und Sagte Kein Einziges Wort
S Santha Kumari
8. Incompetent Heroism: Revisiting the Image of the Hero in Thomas Brüssig’s Heroes like Us
PART III: Cinematic Hero(es) and Beyond
9. Meet the Real Protagonists of Everyday Life
10. Transgressing the Borders of Space and Time the Heroism of the Pilot Joseph Cooper in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar
Thomas Schwarz and Amar Singh
11. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and the Crises of a Hero in Love
PART IV: Making/Unmaking of Hero(es) across Media and Culture
12. Daredevil Philosophy: Dean Potter's "When Dogs Fly"
13. Of Nation and Masculinity in Bollywood Sports Biopics: Recontextualizing Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Dangal
14. The Representation of Dalit Women Heroes in Nalini Jameela’s The Autobigraphy of a Sex Worker and Yashica Dutt’s Coming out as a Dalit
15. The Hero and the Other: The Making and Unmaking of the Heroes across Cultures
Pravin K Patel