23 illustrations, 2 appendixes
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 From previously unpublished interviews with series creator David Milch to explorations of sexuality, disability, cinematic technique, and western narrative, this collection focuses on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.
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.