[lit-ideas] Hero-Worship, etc.

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 6 May 2004 23:02:02 EDT

         "A hero is only a hero if he/she has some fear, some moment of 
         wariness; they are concerned how the action will effect others or 
         situation." --

The sexist Greeks -- there are relics in English! -- distinguished between 
'hero' and 'heroine'. 'Heroin' is however _German_: "a white crystalline 
alkaloid" -- the word 'said to be so derived because of the inflation of the 
personality consequent upon taking the drug'. Oddly, the use of 'personality' 
(in the 
definition of 'heroin') suggests a re-write for the sentence in question:

       A hero is only a hero if she/he has some fear; the person
       is concerned how the action [has an effect] on others.

The OED cites of 'heroine' are rather interesting, and I quote them below. 
They include one on Mrs Cox's on 'heroine-worship'. In a logical vein, all the 
definitions provided by the OED for 'hero' refer to 'man', only, and think of 
it, the definition of 'heroine' as _female hero_ is a bit biased (If so, then 
the OED should provide sex-neutral definitions for 'hero', I would think).




I. "heroine"

ad. L. hrna, -n, a. Gr. , fem. of  HERO: see -INE. Cf. F. héroïne (16th c.). 
The Lat. form was also in Eng. use in 17th c.]  
 A female hero. In ancient mythology, a female intermediate between a woman 
and a goddess; a demi-goddess. 
1659 CLEVELAND Mt. Ida v, 
Next Pallas that brave Heroina came. 
1725 POPE Odyss. XI. Argt., 
He sees the shades of the ancient heroines. 
1835 THIRLWALL Greece I. v. 149 
Medea seems..to have descended..from the rank of a goddess into that of a 
A woman distinguished by exalted courage, fortitude, or noble achievements. 
1662 EVELYN Chalcogr. 61 
A Sardonix which he cut, representing the head of that famous Heroine [Queen 
1697 tr. C'tess D'Aunoy's Trav. (1706) 85 
To distinguish herself from among the Heroina's of the most famous Ages. 
1702 Lond. Gaz. No. 3796/12 
Providence..raised an English Heroine to dissipate the Designs of an 
Universal Monarchy. 
1732 T. LEDIARD Sethos II. x. 475 
The greatest heroins have but one life. 
1859 MASSON Milton I. 667 
Over Scotland..there were Presbyterian heroines very many, and Presbyterian 
furies not a few.
The principal female character in a poem, story, or play; the woman in whom 
the interest of the piece centres. 
1715 J. RICHARDSON Ess. Paint. 106 The other Saints have regard only to the 
Heroine of the Picture. 1782 V. KNOX Ess. cxxi. (R.), They..forget the hero and 
the heroine, the poet and the poem. 1847 TENNYSON Princ. Prol. 217 â??Take 
Lilia, then, for heroineâ?? clamour'd he, â??And make her some great Princess, 
feet highâ??.
attrib. or as adj. Heroine-like, heroic. 
1702 Lond. Gaz. No. 3810/4 A Soul truly Great and Heroine.
 Comb., as heroine-worship, -worshipper (cf. HERO-WORSHIP); heroine-like adj. 
1804 Something Odd I. 168 
Without screaming, or fainting, or practising any other of the heroine-like 
1900 Westm. Gaz. 1 May 4/2 
Mrs. Cock has succeeded in giving a true and striking portraiture, without 
falling into mere heroine-worship. 
1916 A. BENNETT Lion's Share xxiii. 165 
â??Jenny!â?? Audrey protested, full of heroine-worship. 
1943 BEERBOHM Lytton Strachey 11 
He was not a hero-worshipper, or even a very gallant heroine-worshipper. 
1970 R. RENDELL Guilty Thing Surprised ix. 111 
It was a case of heroine worship on one side and a sort of flattered 
acceptance on the other.
Hence heroine v. nonce-wd., in to heroine it, to act or play the heroine; 
heroineship, heroinism, the condition or position of a heroine; heroinize v. 
trans., to make into a heroine. 
1759 STERNE Tr. Shandy (1802) I. xviii. 71 
She could not heroine it into so violent..an extreme as one in her situation 
might have wished. 
1778 Hist. Eliza Warwick II. 29 A noble effort of heroinism. 
1815 E. S. BARRETT Heroine III. 174, I therefore heroinized and Heloised 
myself as much as possible. 
1818 Blackw. Mag. III. 290 The heroineship of the book has passed to one of 
the daughters of Lady Juliana. 
1887 Graphic 16 Apr. 414 Both qualifications for heroinism are combined by 
Rhona Lascelles. 
1894 MRS. H. WARD Marcella I. xi. 210 Her sense of heroineship.

II.  'hero'
1. A name given (as in Homer) to men of superhuman strength, courage, or 
ability, favoured by the gods; at a later time regarded as intermediate between 
gods and men, and immortal.
2. A man distinguished by extraordinary valour and martial achievements; one 
who does brave or noble deeds; an illustrious warrior. 
 3. A man who exhibits extraordinary bravery, ...  a man admired and 
venerated for his achievements and noble qualities. 

 4. The man who forms the subject of an epic; the chief male personage in a 
poem, play, or story; he in whom the interest of the story or plot is centred. 

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