The Myth Of The American Superhero

John Shelton Lawrence Robert Jewett


The Myth Of The American Superhero

The Myth Of The American Superhero

  • Title: The Myth Of The American Superhero
  • Author: John Shelton Lawrence Robert Jewett
  • ISBN: 9780802849113
  • Page: 104
  • Format: Hardcover



From the Superman of comic books to Hollywood s big screen action stars, Americans have long enjoyed a love affair with the superhero In this engaging volume, Robert Jewett and John Shelton Lawrence explore the psychological and spiritual roots of the superhero myth and its deleterious effect on America s democratic vision.Arguing that the superhero is simply a distinctFrom the Superman of comic books to Hollywood s big screen action stars, Americans have long enjoyed a love affair with the superhero In this engaging volume, Robert Jewett and John Shelton Lawrence explore the psychological and spiritual roots of the superhero myth and its deleterious effect on America s democratic vision.Arguing that the superhero is simply a distinctive form of the classical monomyth described by Joseph Campbell, the authors show that the American version of the monomyth derives from tales of redemption It secularizes the Judeo Christian drama, combining elements of the selfless servant with the lone, zealous crusader who destroys evil Thus the supersaviors of pop culture are replacements for the Christ figure, whose credibility has been eroded by scientific rationalism.Drawing widely from books, film, and television, the authors trace the development of the American superhero during the twentieth century and expose the mythic patterns behind the most successful elements of pop culture Challenging readers to reconsider the relationship of this myth to traditional religious and social values, the authors show how, ultimately, these fantastic narratives both gain the spiritual loyalties of their audiences and, in the process, denigrate America s democratic institutions and ethos.


Recent Comments "The Myth Of The American Superhero"

Insightful. Clueless.

This is a fantastic book. It is fearless in approaching some of the stories we've put on pedestals (I'll admit to a moment of personal horror that they took Star Wars down a peg or two), and calmly points out the tension between the deep values of a democracy and the images in our stories and films of superheroic loners who save the day, often disobeying orders and ignoring bureaucracies portrayed as slobbish or incompetent. They collect the superheroic ideals and tropes and call it an "American [...]

An excellent piece of media criticism that traces a uniquely American version of the classical monomyth through a century of popular entertainments across all media, it does not resolve into simplistic prescriptions for censorship, but neither does it interrogate deeply the popularity of these narrative archetypes. What makes the monomyth so intractable in the popular consciousness? Is it simply because there's a lot of it to go round? While the authors express unease about anti-democratic eleme [...]

I read some of this book for my research on superheroes. It seems quite good and interesting, unfortunately I didn't get to finish it.


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    Posted by:John Shelton Lawrence Robert Jewett
    Published :2018-08-25T08:28:32+00:00