Tuesday, October 14, 2008
My Books--Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks
Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks was my first book on television and the first of the many edited collections for which I have come to be known.
When I joined the faculty at Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis) in 1988, I was asked to teach a course called Television and Culture. My interest in the course was primarily as a very vocal practitioner of "TVantipathy" (go here and here), but I came to be increasingly fascinated with the medium I had so long intellectually despised.
When Twin Peaks debuted on ABC in 1990, I watched the pilot with my wife's parents, and though I rather liked it, did not tune in again until that summer when I watched Season One avidly in reruns. By the time Season Two began in the fall of 1990, we were hosting a Twin Peaks watching party (complete with cherry pie) and soon hatched the idea of putting out a Call for Papers for a collection on the series.
By the time I began shopping the book around, Twin Peaks was already doomed, and publisher after publisher declined. One projected it would sell no more than 500 copies. Finally, Wayne State University agreed to publish it, and it has stayed in print now for 14 years, selling well over 10,000 copies.
I received so many good submissions for the book that I spun off, thanks to Jim Welsh, a special issue of Literature/Film Quarterly--21.4 (1993).