Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Alan Weltzien talks about Thomas Savage

A few years ago, Alan Weltzien, a professor of English at The University of Montana-Western, set out to bring attention to an under-appreciated 20th century novelist, Thomas Savage. Thankfully, his efforts have resulted in renewed interest, by publishers and readers, in Savage's books.

Recently, Riverbend Publishing and Drumlummon Institute partnered up to re-print Lona Hanson, the fourth of Savage's thirteen novels.

Riverbend describes the book this way: "Originally published in 1948, one year after A. B. Guthrie’s The Big Sky, Lona Hanson establishes many of the themes of Thomas Savage’s later masterworks. In ranchwoman Lona Hanson, Savage creates an extraordinary character: passionate, driven, domineering, and ultimately tragic. As O. Alan Weltzien writes in his introduction to this new edition, 'Savage’s resistance to, even revulsion from, hack Western plots in film or print stamped his own independence as he set about writing the Rocky Mountain West he knew first hand, from the inside.'"

Although he left Montana when he was a young man, and claimed to hate his home state, many of Savage's novels were set in southwest Montana, including The Pass, Lona Hanson, and The Corner of Rife and Pacific.

During this week's program, Alan Weltzien will talk about the real people Thomas Savage based his characters on, and about some of the characters in Lona Hanson who are a "first-draft" of characters who appear in Savage's later novels.

Find out more about Alan Weltzien and Thomas Savage and listen to this program on the radio or online.

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