Recent Publication: Agonistic Culture, or George Lucas’ Turn to the Tragic

My cultural interests tend to lie less in popular culture than a stream of my writing since 2007 would suggest, but where my passions have dovetailed well into academic interests is in George Lucas’ Star Wars saga – testing and contesting the methods of ‘myth studies’ and the ‘myth of redemptive violence’.  My contribution to a recent collection of papers edited by Douglas Brode and Leah Deyneka entitled Myth, Media, and Culture in Star Wars contests Michael Kaminski’s attempt to pull the saga away from myth studies into the form of purely popcorn entertainment many already assume it to simply be [The Secret History of Star Wars].  The case study for doing this focuses on identifying the narrative shape of the prequels (1999-2005) as broadly following Aristotle’s depiction of ‘tragedy’ in his Poetics.  In so doing, the chapter even controversially contests the protests against the addition of the prequels to the saga, and suggests that the protests are largely, in the end, shaped merely by aesthetic choices since the newer trilogy offers some comment-worthy ‘mythic’ re-envisioning or retroactive defamiliarisation.

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