John Simons Publishes ‘Peckinpah’s Tragic Westerns’

English Professor John Simons has published a new book, “Peckinpah’s Tragic Westerns: A Critical Study,” examining the work of filmmaker Sam Peckinpah and placing it within the 2,000-year-old tradition of Western tragedy. The tradition, enfolding the Greeks, Shakespeare, and modern tragedians, is represented in Peckinpah’s art in numerous ways, and the fact that he worked in the mode throughout his career distinguishes him from most American film directors. Films covered include “Ride the High Country,” “Noon Wine,” “The Wild Bunch,” “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,” and “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.” Comments on the book jacket by renowned writer, producer, and director Garner Simmons note that the book “provides fresh and, at times, profound insights into how and why Peckinpah’s work touches us in such a deep and visceral way.” The book is co-authored with Robert Merrill, a colleague of Simons’ while in graduate school at the University of Chicago.

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