Velvet/fracture: David Lynch, Clayton Eshleman, and the construction of the American underworld
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The dominant American myth of selfhood is the "Protestant English pioneer," the conquering hero that pulled in the reigns on natives and wilderness. However, this heroic selfhood comes at an astonishing price. The maintenance of this identity structure requires the inscription of strict boundaries around the self. Completion of the hero narrative requires not only a mastery of self, but also the reification of that mastery though the domination of the external world. The emergence of a counter myth might allow the cultivation of a fluid selfhood, freed from the heroic narrative's egocentrism and domination of self and other. David Lynch and Clayton Eshleman are attempting a revision of selfhood. If experience must again be widened, then both Lynch and Eshleman must peel back the veneer of Billboard America and pry, apart the old consciousness. Lynch and Eshleman seek to forge this new version of self in the smithy of an American underworld.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 30-31).
Parent, Mikel Forrest (2001). Velvet/fracture: David Lynch, Clayton Eshleman, and the construction of the American underworld. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from