This essay focuses on the possibility of articulating a form of nostalgia in film not tied to an opposition to irony. It concentrates on the neo-noir cinema of David Lynch precisely because he is a master of balancing nostalgic sincerity and postclassical irony within the same film. Therefore, the essay argues that the films of David Lynch present the viewer with a way out of the postmodern deadlock where nostalgia remains less radical than irony. To make this argument, the essay utilizes Giambattista Vico's notion of the ricorso from book 5 of The New Science in order to situate Lynch's unique position within the history of film noir as a genre. Vico's poetic developmental scheme, which relies on the “four master tropes” (metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony), is adapted to the historical evolution of film noir as a genre. The essay then translates Vico's ricorso into a fifth master trope, metalepsis, and connects Lynch's form of postnostalgic uncanny (and Vico's ricorso) to metalepsis (in both the tropological and narrative sense) to show how Lynch moves neo-noir beyond the structure of irony without flirting with the new sincerity or metamodernism.

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