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Dirty Words in Deadwood


"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 From previously unpublished interviews with series creator David Milch to explorations of sexuality, disability, cinematic technique, and western narrative, this collection focuses on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.

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Brings a much-needed perspective to Deadwood's representation of the frontier West

Table of Contents

List of IllustrationsAcknowledgmentsIntroduction: Deadwood's Barbaric Yawp: Sharing a Literary HeritageMelody GraulichDeadwood EpisodesDeadwood Cast1. David Milch at Yale: An InterviewNathaniel Lewis2. Last Words in DeadwoodBrian McCuskey3. The Thinking of Al Swearengen's Body: Kidney Stones, Pigpens, and Burkean Catharsis in DeadwoodTim Steckline4. "Land of Oblivion": Abjection, Broken Bodies, and the Western Narrative in DeadwoodJohn Dudley5. The Final Stamp: Deadwood and the Gothic American FrontierWendy Witherspoon6. "Down These Mean Streets": Film Noir, Deadwood, Cinematic Space, and the Irruption of Genre CodesNicolas S. Witschi7. "Right or Wrong, You Side with Your Feelings"Jennilyn Merten8. "A Brooding and Dangerous Soul": Deadwood's Imperfect MusicDavid Fenimore9. Calamity Jane and Female Masculinity in DeadwoodLinda Mizejewski10. Queer Spaces and Emotional Couplings in DeadwoodMichael K. Johnson11. Who Put the Gun into the Whore's Hand? Disability in DeadwoodNicole TonkovichBibliographyContributorsIndex

About the Author

Melody Graulich is a professor of English and American studies at Utah State University and the editor of Western American Literature. She is the coeditor of In Search of a Common Language: Environmental Writing and Education and Reading "The Virginian" in the New West: Centennial Essays (Nebraska, 2003). Graulich won the 2014 Mary C. Turpie Award from the American Studies Association. Nicolas S. Witschi is a professor of English at Western Michigan University and a past president of the Western Literature Association. He is the editor of A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American West and author of Traces of Gold: California's Natural Resources and the Claim to Realism in Western American Literature.


"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 Mollegaard, Journal of American Culture -- Kirsten Mollegaard * Journal of American Culture * "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 -- Brad Benz * Great Plains Quarterly * "Melody Graulich and Nicholas S. Witschi offer a smart collection of 11 essays that deconstruct Deadwood."-True West * True West *

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