The Impossible David Lynch

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Columbia University Press, 2007 - Performing Arts - 265 pages
4 Reviews

Todd McGowan launches a provocative exploration of weirdness and fantasy in David Lynch's groundbreaking oeuvre. He studies Lynch's talent for blending the bizarre and the normal to emphasize the odd nature of normality itself. Hollywood is often criticized for distorting reality and providing escapist fantasies, but in Lynch's movies, fantasy becomes a means through which the viewer is encouraged to build a revolutionary relationship with the world.

Considering the filmmaker's entire career, McGowan examines Lynch's play with fantasy and traces the political, cultural, and existential impact of his unique style. Each chapter discusses the idea of impossibility in one of Lynch's films, including the critically acclaimed Blue Velvet and The Elephant Man; the densely plotted Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive; the cult favorite Eraserhead; and the commercially unsuccessful Dune. McGowan engages with theorists from the "golden age" of film studies (Christian Metz, Laura Mulvey, and Jean-Louis Baudry) and with the thought of Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, and Hegel. By using Lynch's weirdness as a point of departure, McGowan adds a new dimension to the field of auteur studies and reveals Lynch to be the source of a new and radical conception of fantasy.


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Review: The Impossible David Lynch (Film and Culture)

User Review  - Alex - Goodreads

This fulfilled the "fun critical theory about auteur" slot in my reading schedule nicely. Read full review

Review: The Impossible David Lynch (Film and Culture)

User Review  - Richard Jones - Goodreads

If you're a fan of David Lynch, then you must read this book - in a word it is a stunning piece of erudition and theoretical thinking. The best academic book on Lynch yet to published. Read full review


The Bizarre Nature of Normality
Sacrificing Ones Head for an Eraser
The Integration of the Impossible Object in The Elephant Man
Dune and the Path to Salvation
Fantasizing the Father in Blue Velvet
The Absence of Desire in Wild at Heart
Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me and Identification with the Object
Finding Ourselves on a Lost Highway
The Ethics of Fantasizing in The Straight Story
Navigating Mulholland Drive David Lynchs Panegyric to Hollywood
The Ethics of Fantasy

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About the author (2007)

Todd McGowan is associate professor of English at the University of Vermont.

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