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”I don’t have any heroes, they’re all useless”, said John Lydon in 1976, giving voice to a destructive impulse that would go on to dominate the next half-century or so of intellectual, cultural and political life.
But isn’t one of the main problems with the modern world that we no longer have any real sense of what heroism is? Is heroism being able to attain the heights others cannot, or is it less remarkable to be extraordinary, than to heroically endure the humdrum? What if we recovered heroism from the hands of the fascists and the right-wing populists, and proclaimed that – despite everything – a hero can and should be something to be?
In these personal, provocative essays, the authors behind the uncompromising project that is Repeater Books come together to redefine the idea of the hero for a twenty-first-century public which desperately needs something to believe in. From Eric Cantona to Wile E. Coyote, Bruno Latour to Paula Rego, forgotten legends and anonymous family members, this compendium of extraordinary human behaviour is essential reading for anyone who has ever thought that, despite what Jean-Paul Sartre said, heaven is other people.
Includes essays from Grace Blakeley, Carl Neville, Lesley-Ann Brown, Mat Osman, Andy Sharp, and Joy White.
Alex Niven’s books include Folk Opposition, Definitely Maybe 33 1/3 and New Model Island. He is Lecturer in English at Newcastle University, and his writing has appeared in the Guardian, Pitchfork, the Independent and LA Review of Books.
Tariq Goddard was born in London in 1975. He read Philosophy at King’s College London. His first three novels were shortlisted for various awards including Whitbread (Costa) First Novel Award, Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize and the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize. His fourth and fifth books won the Independent Publishers Gold medal for Horror Writing and Silver medal for Literary Fiction respectively. He lives on a farm in Wiltshire with his wife and children.
“To be on the left, one requires possession of a quixotic sense of romanticism. From the Paris Commune to the Spanish Civil War, Che, the Black Panthers & striking workers – we have always been inspired by sacrificial ‘heroes’. The old macho idea of ‘great men of history’ & the millenarian fashion for non-hierarchal horizontalism killed off the need for such ‘heroes’. Sorry, it’s a fact that in the 21st century we are in need of new charismatic leaders, heroes even. This book is an unashamed celebration of the everyday heroic. Read and be inspired.”