This study explores the abiding fascination and provocation of the American frontier West in the contemporary period, in contexts which both ground it historically and extrapolate from it, refracting it through contemporary film, literature, science fiction and the rhetoric of information technology. A historical, geopolitical specificity in granted by chapters on D.H. Lawrence in New Mexico, contemporary Montana literature, and two popular movies set there and in Oregon respectively. The American West is more generally considered strategically in its connections to Europe, as in Wim Wenders's classic Paris, Texas, the Beach Boys' work in the Netherlands and the consideration of the European vision of the internet as a new frontier. Comparable connections to East Asia are granted in a chapter on the presentation of Japan in seminal works by Richard Brautigan. Close textual analysis of abiding works is given, against a background of seminal, related critical works not only in historical and cultural studies, but also in film analysis and information technology.
Such extrapolations in turn reflect on the self-conception of the region, and therefore yield a pertinent and timely contribution of that reassessment of the nation as it enters the new millennium.
Dr Barnard Turner was born outside London, England and studied in the UK and at two universities in the Pacific Northwest, the University of British Columbia (B.A.) and the University of Oregon (Ph.D.). He has published articles on a variety of topics in American and European literature and cultural politics, including several on D.H. Lawrence in new theoretical contexts and a study of Thoreau reception in India. Dr. Turner is currently Associate Professor of English at the National University of Singapore and Academic Convenor for European Studies.
Preface, Acknowledgements Introduction 1. An Exemplary Traveler: D. H. Lawrence invents America for himself in Kangaroo and "The Woman Who Rode Away" 2. A Western writer in Germany and Japan: Richard Brautigan 3. California Redux in [the Beach Boys'] Holland 4. A Landscape and no Character: Wim Wenders's Western America and Sam Shepard's Western Narratives 5. Panta rhei: Temporality and Self-consciousness in Descriptions of Montana 6. Costner's Postman: The West as pastiche 7. Strategies of Projection and Assimilation in Star Trek: First Contact 8. Walls and Wires: William Mitchell's "Infobahn" and European "e-topia" Bibliography Index