Romantic hero  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The romantic hero is a literary archetype referring to a character that rejects established norms and conventions, has been rejected by society, and has the self as the center of his or her own existence . The romantic hero is often the main protagonist in the literary work and there is a primary focus on the character's thoughts rather than his or her actions. Literary critic Northrop Frye noted that the romantic hero is often "placed outside the structure of civilization and therefore represents the force of physical nature, amoral or ruthless, yet with a sense of power, and often leadership, that society has impoverished itself by rejecting". Other characteristics of the romantic hero include: introspection, the triumph of the individual over the "restraints of theological and social conventions" . The romantic hero first began appearing in literature during the Romantic period, in works by such authors as Byron, Percy Shelley, and Goethe, and is seen in part as a response to the French Revolution. As Napoleon, the "living model of a hero", became a disappointment to many, the typical notion of the hero as upholding social order began to be challenged. Classic literary examples of the romantic hero include Byron's Don Juan and Chateaubriand's René (novella), and Cooper's famous literary character "Hawkeye" (Natty Bumpo) of the Leatherstocking Tales, while J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter may be considered a modern example.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Romantic hero" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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