A yearning for immortality through fame is perhaps integral to human nature.
But the ways this yearning is expressed and the importance vested in it differ
according to changing metaphysical beliefs. What a hero must accomplish
to gain the glory he seeks varies with time and place, as do also the means to
praise him and the genres considered appropriate for the task. The media for securing
and transmitting glory reflect the development of technology. Literature used
as a vehicle for fame is the issue addressed in this study. History, biography, poetry,
epic and laudatory texts have contributed extensively to conserving the memory of
heroes and other praiseworthy members of the community. Writers of many kinds
have likewise sought fame for themselves. 'Heralds of Fame' traces writers' attitude
to fame from Graeco-Roman Antiquity onwards and their role in the construction
of fame and glory.
Fame and glory are not total synonyms, and fame in particular is not exclusively
positive. Fame may be pursued by many means, for its own sake, and result from
destructive actions. Regardless of moral misgivings attached to the quest for fame,
it constitutes a major force behind authors' creative ambitions in classical as well as