David Lynch and the American West

Essays on Regionalism and Indigeneity in Twin Peaks and the Films


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About the Book

This collection convenes diverse analyses of David Lynch’s newly conceived, dreamlike neo-noir representations of the American West, a first in studies of regionalism and indigeneity in his films. Twelve essays and three interviews address Lynch’s image of the American West and its impact on the genre. Fans and scholars of David Lynch’s work will find a study of his interpretations of the West as place and myth, spanning from his first feature film, Eraserhead (1977), through the third season of Twin Peaks in 2017. Symbols of the West in Lynch’s work can be as obvious as an Odessa, Texas street sign or as subtle as the visual themes rooted in indigenous artistry. Explorations of cowboy masculinity, violence, modern frontier narratives and representations of indigeneity are all included in this collection.

About the Author(s)

Rob E. King is an associate librarian at Texas Tech University’s Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library and a doctoral student in English at Texas Tech University. He has contributed to 25YL, Blue Rose Magazine, Twin Peaks Unwrapped podcast and published in New American Notes Online and the West Texas Historical Review.

Christine Self, Ph.D. has worked in higher education for nearly 20 years. Her research interests include family involvement in higher education, the experiences of women in higher education, women’s and gender studies, and sexual violence prevention in higher education. She lives in Lubbock, Texas and serves as the director for Family Outreach and Engagement at Texas Tech University, Parent & Family Relations.

Robert G. Weaver is the manuscript archivist within Texas Tech University’s Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, where he coordinates making both physical and digital archival collections available. He served as editor of the West Texas Historical Review for the West Texas Historical Association.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Rob E. King, Christine Self and Robert G. Weaver
Foreword by John Thorne
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 214
Bibliographic Info: appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8208-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4705-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Foreword: A Long Way from the World: David Lynch and the American West
John Thorne 1
Rob E. King, Christine Self and Robert G. Weaver 5
Part I: Regionalism
Considering Regionalism in the Films of David Lynch: An Interview with Andréas Halskov
Rob E. King 15
“To the hellhole it is now”: The Pastoral and Industrialization in Eraserhead
Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns 25
Watch and Listen to the Dream of Time and Space: Historiography, Geography and Twin Peaks
Rebecca Heimel 36
The Wood for the Trees: Regional and Anthropocene Signals in the Pacific Northwest Forests of Twin Peaks
Andy Hageman 47
Dark Americana: Identity, Frontiers and Heterotopias in David Lynch’s Dreams
Marko Lukić 63
Part II: Indigeneity and Representation
A Discussion on the Treatment of Indigeneity in Twin Peaks: An Interview with Geoff Bil
Rob E. King 75
“It has something to do with your heritage”: Indigenous Arts in Twin Peaks
David Titterington 83
“Very old, but always current”: Indigenous Geographies in Twin Peaks
Garrett Wayne Wright 103
“I am the FBI”: American Identity in Twin Peaks
Molly O’Gorman 112
Part III: Road Narrative and Genre
Thoughts on the American Southwest in Film and Television: An Interview with Monica Montelongo Flores
Rob E. King 127
Once Upon a Time in Rancho Rosa: Reading Twin Peaks Season 3 as a ­Neo-Western
Franck Boulègue and Marisa C. Hayes 135
I’m Going West, Diane: Masculinity and the Cowboy Archetype in the Works of David Lynch
Andrew T. Burt 148
David Lynch’s Desert Frontier: Road Movie, Desert Horror and Western Liminality
Thomas Britt 160
The Western Road as Metaphor for American Instability in David Lynch’s Lost Highway
Mark Henderson 170
Re-Imagined West in the L.A. Trilogy: A Heritage of California Fiction and American Trauma
Rob E. King 180
Appendix: Character and Actor Guide for David Lynch Films in This Collection 193
About the Contributors 195
Index 199

Book Reviews & Awards

• “An excellent contribution to the study of the western genre, notions of the border and frontier, and the role of the indigenous in Lynch’s oeuvre.”— Stacy Rusnak, professor of film, Georgia Gwinnett College

• “A strong contribution to the field…. This is the first book to both identify and deeply explore the signature importance of the American West to Lynch’s oeuvre.”—Sara L. Spurgeon, professor of American literature, Texas Tech University

• “Fascinating.”—Roundup Magazine