Dirty Words in “Deadwood” showcases literary analyses of the Deadwood television series by leading western American literary critics. Whereas previous reaction to the series has largely addressed the question of historical accuracy rather than intertextuality or literary complexity, Melody Graulich and Nicolas S. Witschi’s edited volume brings a much-needed perspective to Deadwood’s representation of the frontier West.
As Graulich observes in her introduction: “With its emotional coherence, compelling characterizations, compressed structural brilliance, moral ambiguity, language experiments, interpretation of the past, relevance to the present, and engagement with its literary forebears, Deadwood is an aesthetic triumph as historical fiction and, like much great literature, makes a case for the humanistic value of storytelling.” From previously unpublished interviews with series creator David Milch to explorations of sexuality, disability, cinematic technique, and western narrative, this collection focuses on Deadwood as a series ultimately about the imagination, as a verbal and visual construct, and as a literary masterpiece that richly rewards close analysis and interpretation.
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Deadwood's Barbaric Yawp: Sharing a Literary Heritage
1. David Milch at Yale: An Interview
2. Last Words in Deadwood
3. The Thinking of Al Swearengen's Body: Kidney Stones, Pigpens, and Burkean Catharsis in Deadwood
4. "Land of Oblivion": Abjection, Broken Bodies, and the Western Narrative in Deadwood
5. The Final Stamp: Deadwood and the Gothic American Frontier
6. "Down These Mean Streets": Film Noir, Deadwood, Cinematic Space, and the Irruption of Genre Codes
Nicolas S. Witschi
7. "Right or Wrong, You Side with Your Feelings"
8. "A Brooding and Dangerous Soul": Deadwood's Imperfect Music
9. Calamity Jane and Female Masculinity in Deadwood
10. Queer Spaces and Emotional Couplings in Deadwood
Michael K. Johnson
11. Who Put the Gun into the Whore's Hand? Disability in Deadwood
"Melody Graulich and Nicholas S. Witschi offer a smart collection of 11 essays that deconstruct Deadwood."—True West
"Dirty Words in Deadwood will be welcomed by Deadwood scholars and casual readers looking for fresh insights into Milch's iconoclastic series."—Brad Benz, Great Plains Quarterly
Great Plains Quarterly
“Solidly researched and persuasively argued. . . . Dirty Words in “Deadwood” expands upon its multiple meanings from a broad scope of perspectives that situate the series in a startlingly contemporary world.”—Kirsten Møllegaard, Journal of American Culture
Journal of American Culture