culture hero

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See also: culture-hero


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culture hero (plural culture heroes)

  1. (idiomatic) A mythical character or real person who is renowned as the exemplar of the values or achievements of a society, group, or time period.
    • 1886, Andrew Lang, chapter 6, in Myth, Ritual, and Religion:
      A precisely similar notion was found by Avila among the Indians of Huarochiri, whose divine culture-hero imposed, by a curse or a blessing, their character and habits on the beasts.
    • 1970 March 23, "Business: America the Inefficient," Time:
      [T]he U.S. has long been the Land of Efficiency. . . . Here mass production was born, the assembly line for good or ill became the modern cornucopia, and Henry Ford once reigned as the leading culture hero.
    • 2006 Oct. 1, Edward Kosner, "First Chapter: It’s News to Me," New York Times (retrieved 4 June 2013):
      [T]hese were mostly Russian intellectuals, hard-core Stalinists, and democratic socialists . . . whose book-lined apartments were filled with leftist tracts and records by the Red Army Chorus and the black American Communist culture hero Paul Robeson.


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