Myths of Modern Individualism: Faust, Don Quixote, Don Juan, Robinson Crusoe

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Feb 13, 1997 - Literary Criticism - 293 pages
In Myths of Modern Individualism, the renowned critic Ian Watt treats Don Juan, Don Quixote, Faust, and Robinson Crusoe as "individualists," pursuing their own views of what they should be. The original Counter Reformation myths saw the individualism of Don Juan, Don Quixote, and Faust as a problem to be quelled by death or mockery. However, the Romantic period, a time more favorably disposed toward myth, saw their dissension not as unacceptable disorder, but rather as admirable and heroic behavior. This incisive study traces attitudes toward these figures and the Romantic product Robinson Crusoe from disapproval to awe to skepticism, examining them as icons of such problems as solitude, narcissism, and the claims of the self versus the claims of the community. Pointedly, none of these figures marries or has a lasting relationship, save for the selfless devotion of a single male servant. Watt argues that the myths of Don Juan, Don Quixote, Faust, and Robinson Crusoe remain the distinctive products of Western society, embodying the most basic values of modern culture.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - 8982874 - LibraryThing

POINTS OF INTEREST The figures examined in this text are all monomaniacs; they are not particularly interested in other people; they are completely engaged in their own individual enterprise; they are ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Thank you

Contents

FROM PURITAN ETHIC TO ROMANTIC APOTHEOSIS
139
THOUGHTS ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
243
The worldwide diffusion of the myths
277

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information