Immortals and Vampires and Ghosts, Oh My!: Byronic Heroes in Popular Culture

This essay examines Byronic heroes in popular culture and the pedagogical value of such examinations. Drawing connections between Byron's heroes and contemporary popular culture heroes allows students a fuller understanding of Byron's work and its cultural context, while at the same time providing them with another tool to analyze the films, television series, and books that they, as consumers of popular culture, so avidly appreciate. The essay considers Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation; Lestat from Anne Rice's The Vampire Lestat; Eric Draven from the film, The Crow; Dream from Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics; and Angel from the eponymous television series. A particular concern involves the ways the Byronic hero provides his audience with a vicarious experience of superhuman abilities and power, but at the same time needs to be "rehumanized" in order to to gain his audience's sympathies in addition to their admiration.