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On Heroes and Hero Worship and the Heroic in History   By: (1795-1881)

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In "On Heroes and Hero Worship and the Heroic in History," Thomas Carlyle takes readers on a captivating journey through the concept of heroism and its significance in shaping the course of history. With an impassioned narrative style, Carlyle explores the heroic figures that have left an indelible mark on civilization, spanning from Odin and Shakespeare to Napoleon and Oliver Cromwell.

Carlyle commences his book by presenting a profound analysis of hero worship across various cultures and time periods. He emphasizes the role heroes play in igniting inspiration, admiration, and collective action among individuals. Carlyle suggests that heroes possess a unique ability to shape the destiny of nations and transcend the limitations of ordinary existence. Through his meticulous examination of historical moments, myths, and legends, he successfully constructs a compelling argument for the importance of heroism as a driving force in society.

The strength of Carlyle's work lies in his eloquent prose and vivid descriptions. He seamlessly weaves together historical events, biographical accounts, and literary references, crafting a comprehensive and intellectually stimulating account of heroism. Carlyle's writing is both poetic and philosophical, imbuing the book with a distinctive and engaging narrative tone that keeps readers captivated from start to finish.

One notable aspect of Carlyle's analysis is his exploration of the different types of heroes and the unique characteristics associated with each. He defines six main types of heroes, including the divine hero, the prophet hero, the poet hero, the religious hero, the political hero, and the military hero, each playing a different role in shaping the destiny of humanity. By dissecting these archetypes, Carlyle offers readers a multi-dimensional framework for understanding heroism and its impact on society.

While Carlyle's depth of knowledge and keen insights are commendable, some readers may find the book's dense prose and complex ideas challenging to grasp. The language can be convoluted at times, requiring careful attention and persistence to fully comprehend the nuances of Carlyle's arguments. However, for readers willing to invest the effort, the rewards are plentiful, with profound reflections on heroism, history, and the human condition waiting to be discovered.

"On Heroes and Hero Worship and the Heroic in History" is an intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking exploration of heroism, written with Carlyle's signature eloquence and passion. It is a significant work that invites readers to reflect on the role of heroes, their influence on society, and the timeless qualities that make them figures of admiration and inspiration. Carlyle's examination of hero worship and its implications remains relevant and insightful, making this book a valuable addition to any scholar or enthusiast's library.

First Page:

ON HEROES, HERO WORSHIP, AND THE HEROIC IN HISTORY

By Thomas Carlyle

Transcriber's Note:

The text is taken from the printed "Sterling Edition" of Carlyle's Complete Works, in 20 volumes, with the following modifications made in the etext version: Italicized text is delimited by underscores, thusly . The footnote (there is only one) has been embedded directly into text, in brackets, [thusly]. Greek text has been transliterated into Latin characters with the notation [Gr.] juxtaposed. Otherwise, the punctuation and spelling of the print version have been retained.

CONTENTS.

I. THE HERO AS DIVINITY. ODIN. PAGANISM: SCANDINAVIAN MYTHOLOGY. II. THE HERO AS PROPHET. MAHOMET: ISLAM. III. THE HERO AS POET. DANTE: SHAKSPEARE. IV. THE HERO AS PRIEST. LUTHER; REFORMATION: KNOX; PURITANISM. V. THE HERO AS MAN OF LETTERS. JOHNSON, ROUSSEAU, BURNS. VI. THE HERO AS KING. CROMWELL, NAPOLEON: MODERN REVOLUTIONISM.

LECTURES ON HEROES.

LECTURE I. THE HERO AS DIVINITY. ODIN. PAGANISM: SCANDINAVIAN MYTHOLOGY.

[May 5, 1840.]

We have undertaken to discourse here for a little on Great Men, their manner of appearance in our world's business, how they have shaped themselves in the world's history, what ideas men formed of them, what work they did; on Heroes, namely, and on their reception and performance; what I call Hero worship and the Heroic in human affairs... Continue reading book >>




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