The Republican Hero

From Homer to Batman

By Michael Lusztig

Subjects: Political Science, Popular Culture, History, Philosophy, Leadership Studies
Hardcover : 9781438495378, 285 pages, November 2023
Paperback : 9781438495361, 285 pages, May 2024
Expected to ship: 2024-05-02

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Table of contents

Introduction: Heroes and Republicans

1. The Epic Hero and the Roots of Republican Governance

2. Justice, Magnanimity, and the Republic

3. Rome and the Limits of Heroic Magnanimity: The Great, the Greatly Good, and the Not So Good

4. The Christian Hero in the Orders of Nature and Grace

5. Romanticism: The Egotistical Sublime and Moral Agency

6. God, Godliness, and the Birth of the Common Hero

7. The American Common Hero

Conclusion: What Is a Republican Hero?
Works Cited

Explores the question of whether heroes matter in the modern republic.


Politically speaking, do heroes matter? Are we living in a post-heroic age? The Republican Hero addresses both these questions. The general tenor of modern thinking is that heroes do matter but that the modern age is characterized by a narrowing of moral horizons once illuminated by heroes, secular and spiritual. Michael Lusztig argues that the modern world is not post-heroic. He makes the case that the modern age is the most heroic age, if measured in terms of the Aristotelian currency of balance and completeness. To this end, he identifies four main hero-types—the epic, magnanimous, Romantic, and common. Each can rightfully be called a republican hero: each contributes to the promotion or protection or provision of republican values. Each exemplifies the heroic virtues of their age. However, taken conjunctively, each contributes to what Lusztig conceives as the complete republican hero of the modern age.

Michael Lusztig is Professor of Political Science at Southern Methodist University. He is the author of The Culturalist Challenge to Liberal Republicanism, among other books.


"Professor Lusztig presents a stirring vision of the possibility of heroism in the modern world and the heroes who are already among us—inspiring a better republic by their constant and devoted example."— Mortimer Sellers, editor of Law, Reason, and Emotion