Theories & Links

Myth These ten points provide a general “definitional matrix” for my study of myth in journalism and popular culture.

Apocalypse The apocalypse myth has a long lineage in a variety of historic cultures not just the Judeo-Christian world. As Eugen Weber has argued, “apocalypse long furnished the key to human history,” particularly in the Judeo-Christian west where until the 17th century “premonitory history” was history.

The quest The quest myth is one of the fundamental mythic patterns discernable in a variety of cultures and times: the Arthurian quest for the Holy Grail, Moses’ quest for the promised land, the exploits of the Homeric Odyssey are obvious examples. The Star Wars films, The Lord of the Rings or The Matrix trilogy offer variations of this story in contemporary guise.

New world/other world The quest narrative is closely related to the discovery of new worlds, expanding the frontier is a task faced with both desire and trepidation in many traditional hero stories.

Home Creation myths and national foundation myths are common mythic forms. The myth of the Jewish promised land is one such ancient story that continues to have very material consequences.

The family drama The web of family drama is today unavoidably set against pervasive psychoanalytic self-awareness. Classic myths meet dysfunctional families and royal successions are played out in the corporate corridors of multinational organisations.

The alchemist In popular discourse alchemy is only tangentially related to the complexities of the mystic precursor of modern chemistry. In its ancient form, alchemy was not just based around crude attempts to transform lead into gold but was a well developed esoteric philosophical system.

The Trickster The trickster is one of the most enduring and widespread mythical figures. The antics of Br’er Rabbit, the Shakespearean fool, Native American Coyote tales, Chinese Monkey tales, the adventures of the Greek god Hermes, and the exploits of the Rabelaisian carnival can all be read as realms of the trickster type.


Documents: the thesis

Original Ph.D proposal

The study will explore the relationships between the interlocking fields of news media, literature, film and television drama. While each of these cultural fields are defined by their particular forms and inherent possibilities, their boundaries are permeable and each functions as part of the network of sense making structures available to postmodern “nomadic subjects” (Braidotti 1994; Brown 1996).

Specifically the study will focus on an analysis of eschatological narratives of apocalypse in a series of case studies from each of these genres.

Although it will not focus exclusively, or primarily, on texts that explicitly evoke the events of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre, this event and the subsequent “war on terrorism” provide a compelling contemporary political and cultural context for an examination of apocalyptic narratives.

For more detail and references download full proposal






   This site was designed by Marcus O'Donnell as part of his Ph.D research