The City of Absurdity Papers & Essayes
Lost Highway: Unveiling Cinema's Yellow Brick Road


1. These references in _Blue Velvet_ are drawn out by C. Kenneth Pellow in his article 'Down the Yellow Brick Road: Two Dorothys and the Journey of Initiation in Dream and Nightmare,' Film Quarterly 18, n. 3: pp. 160-177.

2. Michel Chion, David Lynch (British Film Institute: 1995) p.170.

3. These three starred together in seven merry musical road films in the 1940s, with such names as Road to Rio, and Road to Utopia.

4. Up until the 1960s it was common practice to enter and leave theaters at various points in the narrative.

5. A good Lacanian reading could be applied to both this film and this figure, but this is not my intention.

6. Cf. Georges Bataille, Eroticism (San Francisco: City Lights, 1986).

7. Rodolphe Gasche, The Tain of the Mirror (Harvard University Press, 1986) p. 103, quoting Derrida from The Truth in Painting.

8. Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, p. 326.

9. Paul Nathanson in Over the Rainbow: The Wizard of Oz as a Secular Myth of America, argues similarly that Dorothy's journey recapitulates paradigmatic stories of both America and Christianity.

10. Rodolphe Gasche, The Tain of the Mirror, p. 14.

11. Ibid, p. 16.

12. Jacques Derrida, On Grammatology, p. 36.

13. Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, p. 225.

14. Michel Chion in David Lynch (pp. 183-4) speaks of multiple images of links in terms of fragment vs. whole and in terms of the copula in Lacanian terms. He points out links both within the films and in the image and sound structure as well, from continuity shots to sound copulas.

15. I am understanding Nietzsche and Heidegger as the forerunners of postmodernism because Nietzsche's main lines of thought have been developed in the works of Foucault, Bataille, and Deleuze; and the two major readings of Heidegger have developed intoHermeneutics (Gadamar) and Deconstruction (Derrida). Lacan's psychoanalysis is also strongly influenced by his reading of Heidegger.

16. These arguments are most fully expressed in Heidegger's Being and Time and in Nietzsche's Birth of Tragedy, Beyond Good and Evil, Genealogy of Morals.

17. I am of course speaking very broadly here, very aware that both Christianity and metaphyics are much more complicated.

18. Cf. Classical Hollywood Narrative: The Paradigm Wars, ed. Jane Gaines (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1992).

19. Heath, Stephen, 'Narrative Space', Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology, Ed. Philip Rosen (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986). Originally published in Screen (Autumn 1976, 17:19-75)

20. Martin Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Art, trans. Albert Hofstadter (New York: Harper & Row, 1971) pp. 55-57. Also see Being and Time, section 44.

21. For non-static readings of justice see Derrida's essay 'Force of Law' or Levinas' Totality and Infinity or Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence.

22. Michel Chion speaks of Lynch's childhood fascination with dissecting and then rebuilding animals.

23. Emmanuel Levinas, Ethics and Infinity, trans. Richard Cohen (Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press, 1985) p. 45. Also discussed in length in Existence and Existents.


Allison, David B., ed. The New Nietzsche. New York: Delta, 1977.

Amiran, Eyal. 'Against Narrative Poetics: Postmodern Narrative Returns.' SubStance, no. #81 (1996): 90-109.

Ann Fehn, Ingeborg Hoestery, Maria Tatar, ed. Neverending Stories: Toward a Critical Narratology. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992.

Bahti, Timothy. End of the Lyric: Directions and Consequences in Western Poetry. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996.

Bataille, Georges. Erotism: Death and Sensuality. Translated by Mary Dalwood. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1986.

Berry, Betsy. 'Forever, In my Dreams: Generic Conventions and The Subversive Imagination in _Blue Velvet_.' Literature and Film Quarterly 16, no. 2 (1988): 82-90.

Brilliant, Richard. Visual Narratives: Storytelling in Etruscan and Roman Art. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984.

Chion, Michel. David Lynch. Translated by Robert Julian. London: British Film Institute, 1995.

Coates, Paul. The Double and the Other: Identity as Ideology in Post-Romantic Fiction. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988.

Crook, Eugene J., ed. Fearful Symmetry: Doubles and Doubling in Literature and Film. Tallahassee, FlA: University Presses of Florida, 1981.

Deleuze, Gilles. Nietzsche and Philosophy. Translated by Hugh Tomlinson. New York: Columbia

University Press, 1983.

Derrida, Jacques. Of Grammatology. Translated by Gayatri Spivak. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1976.

Derrida, Jacques. Spurs. Translated by Barbara Harlow. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.

Derrida, Jacques. The Truth in Painting. Translated by Ian McLeod. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.

Derrida, Jacques. Writing and Difference. Translated by Alan Bass. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.

Gaines, Jane, ed. Classical Hollywood Narrative. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1992.

Gasche, Rodolphe. The Tain of the Mirror: Derrida and the Philosophy of Reflection. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986.

Hampton, Howard. 'David Lynch's Secret History of the United States.' Film Comment 29, no. May/June (1993): 38-49.

Hatab, Lawrence J. Nietzsche and Eternal Recurrence: The Redemption of Time and Becoming. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, Inc., 1978.

Heath, Stephen. 'Narrative Space.' Screen 17, no. Autumn (1976): 19-75.

Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time. Translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson. New York: Harper & Row, 1962.

Heidegger, Martin. Poetry, Language, Thought. Translated by Albert Hofstadter. New York: Harper & Row, 1971.

Hollander, Anne. Moving Pictures. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991.

Keppler, C. F. The Literature of the Second Self. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press, 1972.

Klossowski, Pierre. 'Nietzsche's Experience of the Eternal Return.' In The New Nietzsche, edited by David B. Allison, 107-120. New York: Delta, 1977.

Levinas, Emmanuel. Ethics and Infinity: Conversations with Philippe Nemo. Translated by Richard A. Cohen. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1985.

Miller, D.A. Narrative and its Discontents: Problems of Closure in the Traditional Novel. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1981.

Murphy, Kathleen. 'Dead Heat on the Merry-Go-Round.' Film Comment 26, no. Nov/Dec (1990): 59-62.

Nathanson, Paul. Over the Rainbow: The Wizard of Oz as a Secular Myth of America. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1991.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Birth of Tragedy. Translated by Francis Golffing. Garden City, New York: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1956.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. Ecce Homo. Translated by Walter Kaufmann. New York: Vintage, 1969.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. On the Genealogy of Morals. Translated by Walter Kaufmann. New York: Vintage, 1969.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Translated by R.J. Hollingdale. New York: Penguin, 1961.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. Will to Power. Translated by Walter Kaufman and R.J. Hollingdale. New York: Vintage Books, 1968.

Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, and Edgar Allan Woolf. The Wizard of Oz: The Screenplay. New York: Delta, 1989.

Olson, Greg. 'Heaven Knows, Mr. Lynch: Beautitudes from the Deacon of Distress.' Film Comment 29, no. May/June (1993): 43-46.

Pellow, C. Kenneth. 'Down the Yellow Brick Road: Two Dorothys and the Journey of Initiation in Dream and Nightmare.' Film Quarterly 18, no. 3: 160-177.

Rosen, Philip, ed. Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology. New York: Columbia University, 1986.

Slethaug, George E. The Play of the Double in Postmodern American Fiction. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1993.

Stambaugh, Joan. Nietzsche's Thought of Eternal Return. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1988.

Willis, Sharon. 'Special Effects: Sexual and Social Difference in _Wild at Heart_.' Camera Obscura 25-26 (1991): 275-295.

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