By Ken Egan
Ken Egan's goal, during this intellectually provocative and deeply perceptive survey of Montana's literary historical past, is to illustrate the roots of the state's literature in its conflicted historical past and complicated mix of racial and ethnic traditions and, whilst, to provide the potential of considerate options to the West's daunting social and environmental dilemmas in the course of the insights of a few of the state's most sensible writers. From the narratives of early explorers and ranchers, local american citizens, and settler ladies throughout the works of such significant twentieth-century luminaries as A. B. Guthrie and Ivan Doig, Egan strains the evolution of Montanans' early significant goals of monetary, non secular, and cultural good fortune into failure and melancholy, violence and tragedy. but, facet through part with those stories of woe are stories of patience or even triumph, facts of the energy and artistic strength of the state's humans.
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Extra info for Hope And Dread In Montana Literature (Western Literature Series)
The buffalo would come again, the Wasichu would disappear, the sacred tree of life would revive. Yet the story must end with the grotesque, savage murders of women, children, and warriors at Wounded Knee. The visionary is left to lament, “A people’s dream died there. It was a beautiful dream” (230). To turn from Sioux to Crow memoirs is to experience the gap between those who ﬁrmly resisted and those who attempted to accommodate the invading Americans. Since several important Crow narratives have come down to us through the work of Frank Linderman and others, these stories provide an especially informative entrée into Indian culture of the region.
4 And although Blue argues against the strong presence of gunplay in the Montana of his era, surely we can recognize a genetic link between these norms and those exerting a force in the western United States today. ”5 Living out an extreme version of the homestead ethic, contemporary antigovernment activists would see violence not just as an option but as a duty. Of course, for much of We Pointed Them North, Abbott berates the homesteaders who huddled around water sources and blocked the herds moving through on their way to the rangelands.
It is difﬁcult to imagine two more dissimilar storytellers than Kelly and Garcia. If the former is reserved, graphically speciﬁc, and rarely comic, Garcia is Montana’s ultimate clown or jester, the raconteur with a bite. Tough Trip through Paradise provides a western picaresque, with Garcia the twenty-threeyear-old “Squaw Kid” as the starring picaro. For all its textual oddity, Tough Trip manages to capture the carnival quality of territorial Montana while registering with unusual frankness the price paid for change by all parties involved.