Criminals as Heroes in Popular Culture

  • Roxie J. James
  • Kathryn E. Lane

About this book


This book delves into humanity’s compulsive need to valorize criminals. The criminal hero is a seductive figure, and audiences get a rather scopophilic pleasure in watching people behave badly. This book offers an analysis of the varied and vexing definitions of hero, criminal, and criminal heroes both historically and culturally.

This book also examines the global presence, gendered complications, and gentle juxtapositions in criminal hero figures and narratives such as: Robin Hood, Breaking Bad, American Gods, American Vandal, Plunkett and Macleane, Martha Stewart, Mary Read, Anne Bonny, and Let The Bullets Fly.


Roxie J. James, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of English in the Department of English at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. She specializes in Romantic and Victorian literature, and her research interests include British women's writing and depictions of dirt in Victorian literature and culture.

Kathryn E. Lane, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of English and Department Chairperson at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. Her research interests include Victorian literature and culture, popular culture, and feminist theory. She is the editor of the 2018 book collection Age of the Geek: Depictions of Nerds and Geeks in Popular Media.


Criminals in Popular culture Criminals as heroes Criminal hero Hero in mass media Crime and piracy American Vandal American Gods noble criminal Crime in television Anti-hero

Editors and affiliations

  • Roxie J. James
    • 1
  • Kathryn E. Lane
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EnglishNorthwestern Oklahoma State UniversityAlvaUSA
  2. 2.Northwestern Oklahoma State UniversityAlvaUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Pivot, Cham
  • eBook Packages Literature, Cultural and Media Studies
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-39584-1
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-39585-8
  • Buy this book on publisher's site