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Hesitant Heroes : Private Inhibition, Cultural Crisis.

Author: Theodore Ziolkowski
Publisher: Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2018.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Why, Theodore Ziolkowski wonders, does Western literature abound with figures who experience a crucial moment of uncertainty in their actions? In this highly original and engaging work, he explores the significance of these unlikely heroes for literature and history. From Aeneas--who wavered momentarily before plunging his sword into Turnus's chest--to Hamlet, Orestes, Parzival, Wallenstein, and others, including  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Additional Physical Format: Print version:
Ziolkowski, Theodore.
Hesitant Heroes : Private Inhibition, Cultural Crisis.
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, ©2018
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Theodore Ziolkowski
ISBN: 9781501711275 150171127X
OCLC Number: 1038495848
Description: 1 online resource (180 pages)
Contents: Cover; Contents; Preface; Introduction: The Paradox of the Hesitant Hero; 1. Aeneas, or Hesitation in Hesperia; The Context; The Problematic Ending; To Kill or Not to Kill; Inhibition: The Pause That Represses; The Historical Analogy; 2. Orestes, or Anguish in Argos; The Curse of the Atrides; Orestes' Hesitation; The Consequences; The Dramatic Context; The Historical Dimension; The Trojan Dilemma; 3. Parzival, or Silence at Munsalvaesche; Parzival's Hesitation; The Mysteries of Munsalvaesche; The Sequel; The Hesitation Re-Viewed; Fin-de-siècle Concerns; 4. Hamlet, or Anomy in Elsinore. Hamlet, Aeneas, OrestesPreliminaries; Hamlet's ""Antic Disposition; The Rotten State; Time out of Joint; 5. Wallenstein, or Evasions in Bohemia; The Background; Wallenstein's Delay; Wallenstein's Hesitation; War as Paradigm; 6. Wavering Heroes, from Scotland to Spain; The Wavering Hero; The Hegelian View; Romantic Varieties; Modern Modifications; Conclusion: Continuities; Notes; Index; A; B; C; D; E; F; G; H; I; J; K; L; M; N; O; P; Q; R; S; T; U; V; W.
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Abstract:

Why, Theodore Ziolkowski wonders, does Western literature abound with figures who experience a crucial moment of uncertainty in their actions? In this highly original and engaging work, he explores the significance of these unlikely heroes for literature and history. From Aeneas--who wavered momentarily before plunging his sword into Turnus's chest--to Hamlet, Orestes, Parzival, Wallenstein, and others, including Kafka's Josef K., Ziolkowski demonstrates that characters' private uncertainty reveals a classic opposition of binary forces. He describes how Aeneas, for example, was forced to choose between the ancient code of blood vengeance and the new civic virtues of law and justice. Ziolkowski asserts that the indecision of the characters reflects the tensions that authors observed in their own societies. Drawing on the insights of Hegel and Freud, he analyzes the ways in which these tensions represent turning points in cultural history. In stark contrast to Aeneas, Josef K. temporized for a year before his executioners thrust a knife into his heart. For Ziolkowski, the centuries separating Virgil and Kafka are ones in which the notion of the hero was transformed almost to the point of total inversion. He sheds light on this transformation and a corresponding change in literary form.

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