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‘I wouldn’t trust no words written down on no piece of paper’: Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man, Jacques Derrida and the critique of logocentrism

Evelina, Kazakeviciute 2019. ‘I wouldn’t trust no words written down on no piece of paper’: Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man, Jacques Derrida and the critique of logocentrism. JOMEC Journal (13) , pp. 70-92. 10.18573/jomec.184

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Abstract

In this article, I propose a reading of Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man (1995) in light of Jacques Derrida’s observations on the axiological binary opposition of speech and writing. I argue that the relationship between the two is artistically explored in the opening scene where the accountant William Blake (Johnny Depp) meets the fireman (Crispin Glover) on the train to the town of Machine. I interpret Depp’s protagonist as the representative of writing and Glover’s fireman as the representative of speech. Demonstrating how the attributes that, through the long history of Western metaphysics, have been ascribed to writing are manifested by the main character of the film, I analyse a subtle personification of the written word on screen. I contend that Dead Man is a deconstructive text not only because it deconstructs the genre of the Western and the narrative of the West but also in the sense that it offers a critique of logocentrism and Western metaphysics.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
Publisher: Cardiff University
ISSN: 2049-2340
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 February 2019
Date of Acceptance: 1 December 2018
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2019 09:26
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/119843

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