The worship of heroes is so recurrent a human activity that we must suppose that some common ground across time and population explains this behaviour. But what? Why should one individual take so great an interest in the standing of another. Are they deluded, hypnotised by propaganda? Perhaps not.

Literary criticism is a minor example of this tendency, but a well documented one, and might lead us to a general account. Much scholarship and commentary is obviously directed to deciding one way or another whether an author deserves high regard, verging on worship, and  in spite of the ostensible importance of the readerly experience, critics seem relatively uninterested in the quality or qualities of a work except as evidence determining or at least justifying the rank assigned to the producer. The work, which one might suppose to be the focus, is regarded only as testimony of genius, and once produced in evidence becomes practically irrelevant, except, curiously, that the evidence needs regular reproduction, with new and indeed original readings being absolutely required, as if fresh miracles must be generated on a regular basis, a bizarre state of affairs. A miracle stands for all time, surely?

Indeed, that suspiciously insistent need to secure novel evidence of value suggests a solution to the general conundrum of hero worship. – The god is as dispensable as the text. Margaret is not grieving over Golden Grove unleaving. The reverberation of the Hosanna returns to the singer. The honour that we seek for text, for author, for hero is intended for our own adornment. We have no heroes but ourselves. How could one ever have doubted it?