Mythic Hero's Appearance in the Twelve Seasons of Nature: His Dramatic Action in Literature and Film

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The hero in literature and film is an expression of seasonal occurrence. His behavior exhibits, symbolically, the relationship of the sun to the earth in twelve phases. It begins at the March equinox and proceeds through the natural year. He assumes, then, twelve distinct characterizations. His conflicts and successes reflect the natural conditions of Early Spring, Mid-Spring, Late Spring, and so on. It creates an aesthetic development that primarily converts traditional mythic dynamics (based in agriculture) into story lines. His character in a given season suggests the dynamism of that season in a modern cultural context. As all works of literature and film either indicate or suggest a seasonal moment, all heroes as will be shown by reference to over a hundred novels, plays, short stories, and films, are characterized by the force of aesthetic sublimation in sympathy with their seasonal set.


“In this book the seed of growth is planted through our comprehension of the link between the hero and nature, but the end of winter restarts the story. Our understanding is not just focused on the link, but the human part of the story. Like the hero who can never fully comprehend his role, the human’s quest is renewed as one year ends and another begins, restarting a cycle that is a testimony to the bond between the human, the hero, and the seasons of life.”
Prof. Edward Joyce,
Suffolk County Community College

"While scholarly works informed by mythological and psychoanalytical insight abound in our time, Prof. Eriksson's manuscript is unique in that it brings together a commanding reading of a vast number of literary texts in the western canon and a generous number of films toward an incisive understanding of the heroic figure. Paying homage to and taking its departure from Joseph Campbell's seminal work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces this book analyzes the heroic figure in the context of a full cycle of the changing seasons. With his expert command of the material, Prof. Eriksson presents to the generalist academic and the advanced college student of literature a way of interpreting literature with a unifying focus on one of the most important literary motifs. While Prof. Eriksson's scope of discussion is impressively wide ranging, he demonstrates a particular strength in his references to the works of Shakespeare. In just over 120 pages, the book builds up a concise interpretive space in which reading, comprehension, and enjoyment of an enormous body of literary and cinematographic texts occur, all under the knowing guidance of a veteran teacher, novelist, actor, and producer. Prof. Eriksson's book is a triumphant feat."
Prof. Wenxin Li,
Suffolk County Community College

Table of Contents

Foreword by Edward Joyce
Chapter 1 Nature, Time, and Imagination
Sense responds to the objective world
Imagination stores time-impressions
Art derives from sense-memory in time
Story form relates to seasonal flow
Heroes are fallen gods
Heroic character has twelve phases
Chapter 2 Early Spring: the Hero as Field Commander
Sun inspires heroic drama
Hero personifies sun’s power on earth
He acts as field commander
His drama takes place in March and April
Chapter 3 Mid-Spring: the Hero as Lover
Lovers need to show respect in courtship
Careless lovers of women must suffer
Young men must learn to expand
Courtship, learning occur in flowering fields
Chapter 4 Late Spring: the Hero as Reacher for the Sky
City life encourages risk-taking
Narrow self-interest challenges optimism
Law solves and complicates matters
Mercy overrules strict justice
May and June foresee fruitfulness in future
Chapter 5 Early Summer: the Hero as Non-Conformist
Complacent communities suffer attack
Hero stands apart from complacency
He protects others, suffers himself
He creates his own problems
Villian as crude, insensitive
Hero must calm others, learn patience
Chapter 6 Mid-Summer: the Hero as Warrior
Hero is fully formed human being
Predictions of doom go unheeded
Hero dares lion’s mouth
Great loves mark the season
Setting is bright and hot
Chapter 7 Late Summer: the Hero as Wizard
Final nature season requires wisdom
Magic combines nature with mind
Natural talent rises to top
Villains use excess control
Wizard protects his daughter
Virginity is prime value
Setting is tropical island, forest
Chapter 8 Early Autumn: the Hero as New Man
Social category tested by character
Emotions need balancing
New man is naïve, egotistical
Hero must make careful choices
Setting involves loss of natural light
School sets stage for learning
Chapter 9 Mid-Autumn: the Hero as Dueler with Dark Forces
Season deceives, brings death
Spirit struggles with dying reality
Villainous heroes lack pity
Season has serene aspect
Good hero is morally impure
Some heroes struggle with evil side
Natural setting is ambiguous, scary
Chapter 10 Late Autumn: the Hero as Knight-at-Bay
Setting, society are barren, melancholy
Hero stands apart with integrity
Villainy is morally mixed, hypocritical
Hero must rescue society
Detective puts the pieces together
Imagination saves the day
Imaginary scenarios enacted
Chapter 11 Early Winter: the Hero as Exile
Nature comes apart, people lost to themselves
Goodness, joy arise in the human spirit
Weather creates suffering Persistence is key virtue
Christmas finalizes success
Climate is stormy, snowy
Chapter 12 Mid-Winter: the Hero as Grappler with the Beast
Cruellest season needs action-taker
Action is paradoxical
Hero must gain maturity
Characters face long, bleak trial of waiting
Law supports tyranny
Universal law must replace false law
Hero suffers for act of will
Deep human impulse rejects bad law
Season moves from winter into spring
Self-discovery replaces sterility
Monsters run rampant
Chapter 13 Late Winter: the Hero as Lost Prince
Winds dominate scene, characters
Characters express grief, grievances
Hero is lost in woods, in self
He is touched with nobility
Heroism arises as destiny
Setting underscores quest for solutions to trouble

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