[As part of my Thesis preparation, I wrote a little piece that was used to help soften up my Advisor to the ideas that would follow. It’s long, it’s self-deprecating, but I think it gives one an idea of where I’m coming from with the Thesis. I’ll post the 2nd part next weekend.]

Why I’m Writing a Thesis About Battlestar Galactica:

Part One

Lighting the Fire 

My desire to drag medieval literature into the 21st century is a long documented one. In my first year at Acadia, I gave a presentation on pop cultural representations of Odysseus as part of our study of Homer’s The Oddysey. My analysis there was viewing just how well this character translated to other environments ranging from the Coen Brothers’ adaptation of the epic into O Brother Where Art Thou? to various episodes of The Simpsons. It covered both direct and indirect adaptations of the character, and viewed each character in light of elements within The Oddysey itself. The result was twofold: a better understanding of Odysseus’ character, and a bit of a personal awakening.

I followed the same basic principles in a presentation within my Tolkien Studies class a year later. Looking at medieval and modern interpretations of the dragon, I focused on how J.R.R. Tolkien so wanted to create a memorable dragon but actually assisted in the destruction of qualities that his ideal dragon, the one found in Beowulf, possessed. I even gave it a pretentious title: “Slaying the Dragon: J.R.R. Tolkien and the Decertification of the Mythical Beast in Popular Culture.” I was very proud of it at the time, but looking back that title is just ridiculous. But, once again, the idea was looking at a literary tradition (Dragons) and how they have become adapted over the years and in what ways they have been moulded and changed.

As part of numerous medieval literature classes, I always marveled how class discussion was always quite lively if not broadly sampled by some students. Despite talking about works written centuries earlier, we were talking as if the key concepts and themes within this work might as well have been contemporary. Despite the dense nature of most of these medieval texts, we were discussing them as if they were harlequin romances are certain points. I am aware that this was perhaps a reductionist reading of the texts, and the people responsible may have taken things a bit off course, but the principle stuck with me: medieval literature is capable of becoming universal.

This past year has been a return to that period of awakening that came two years previous. Admittedly, this awakening abandoned purely academic circles for something more enticing, less structured: I started a blog. This blog began as a bit of a project, nothing major, but has expanded into something much more. I find myself fascinated with the world of television, which serves as a diverse and intriguing medium. I’ve always seen myself as an analysis-driven viewer: people in the general vicinity of me while watching a TV show are likely to get an earful on the ramifications of a character’s actions or the use of various themes and elements within the series.

What the blog has allowed me to do is take this analysis to a larger level, and to publish it online as opposed to annoying those around me. Now, admittedly, the blog has not remained an academic and analytic pursuit: the draw of hits and views and all of those tangible and reassuring quantitative values has led to some pieces that are commercial and soulless. However, I find myself returning to this desire to drag literature into this century. There is something about this blog that has ignited a fire, something that I honestly didn’t expect when it began.

To Be Continued… 

Advertisements