Author

Trevanian

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Trevanian

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"Trevanian" is a pen name of Dr. Rodney William Whitaker, born June 12, 1931 in Granville, New York. He died December 14, 2005 in the English West Country. Although some believe the pseudonym he chose was based on the name of English historian G.M. Trevelyan, he told friends that he used the name of an Armenian acquaintance of his.[not in citation given][1]

Whitaker also published works as Nicholas Seare and Beat Le Cagot as well as under his own name (The Language of Film). His detective novel The Main was originally slated to appear under the pen name Jean-Paul Morin.

Contents

Life

After serving in the U.S. Navy from 1949 to 1953 during the Korean War , Whitaker completed his B.A. (1959) and M.A. (1960) in Drama at the University of Washington and went on to obtain a Ph.D. (1966) in Communications from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Whitaker also taught drama at Dana College in Blair, Nebraska from the fall of 1963 to 1966 before becoming an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin's Department of Film in the late 1960's where he eventually became department chair.

Rod Whitaker is also listed as a director on the 1970 film Genesis III, a collection of experimental student short films. Whitaker along with Richard Kooris also wrote and filmed Stasis, a one-hour movie which was loosely based on Jean Paul Sartre's short story The Wall. Stasis won Esquire Magazine's Publisher's Award in 1970. Whitaker was also a Fulbright scholar in England during his time at the University of Texas.

Whitaker briefly taught at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania for three semesters in 1977-78 after leaving the University of Texas and guest taught at Penn State for one semester in the Fall of 1977. He was also appointed chairman of the communications department at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1980. It is unclear how long he remained there. Since the late 1970's Whitaker had resided with his wife of forty years in the Basque region of France, the setting of his novels Shibumi and The Summer of Katya.

Whitaker wrote many bestselling novels, one of which, The Eiger Sanction, was made into a 1975 movie starring Clint Eastwood. Trevanian described the movie as "vapid" in a footnote in Shibumi. He requested (and received) a screenwriting credit as Rod Whitaker. The balance of the script was written by Warren Murphy, the mystery author perhaps best known for co-writing the Destroyer series of men's action novels, about a similar sarcastic assassin.

Trevanian kept his true identity unknown for many years, and refused to grant interviews or contribute to the publicity efforts of his publishers. Trevanian's first known interview was granted to Carol Lawson of The New York Times for a June 10, 1979 article coinciding with the release of Shibumi. In this article Trevanian stated that "Trevanian is going out of business. Now he can talk." It was often rumored that he was actually Robert Ludlum using a pen name to which Trevanian stated, "I don't even know who he is. I read Proust, but not much else written in the 20th century.".

The most comprehensive source of information remains a written response to a series of questions in an August 10, 1998 online interview for Publishers Weekly, while promoting his comeback novel, Incident At Twenty-Mile. In this interview, Trevanian wrote at length about his fiction career and writing methods as well as his fifteen year absence from publishing. This is the one of only two substantial sources of biographical information for the reclusive author, the other being his entry in Contemporary Authors.

Trevanian's last work, published in June, 2005 is the autobiographical novel The Crazyladies of Pearl Street which traces the author's childhood experiences of growing up during the depression and World War II in Albany, New York. The short story Mrs McGivney's Nickel from Hot Night In The City is one of the chapters of this book.

Quotations

"The propaganda of the victors becomes the history of the vanquished."

"Do not fall into the error of the artisan who boasts of twenty years experience in his craft while in fact he has only one year of experience - twenty times." ~ from SHIBUMI

Nonfiction (as Rod Whitaker)

  • The Language of Film (1970)
  • Christ on Stage. Dialog 5, Summer 1966, pgs. 226-227 (1966).
  • Conversation: On translating Senecan tragedy into film by James Hynd (an interview with Rod Whitaker). Arion (Boston), v. 7 (Spring 1968), p. 58-67 (1968).
  • Stasis. Script to a film by Rod Whitaker and Richard Kooris. Copyright (c) 1968.
  • The Lawyer, The Lawman, and The Law: Public Image, Texas Law Review: Volume 50 - Issue 4. pgs. 822-827 (1972).

Novels

As Trevanian

  • The Eiger Sanction (1972)
  • The Loo Sanction (1973)
  • The Main (1976)
  • Shibumi (published May 14, 1979)
  • The Summer of Katya (published March 25, 1983)
  • Incident at Twenty-Mile (published September 21, 1998)
  • Hot Night in the City (published May 10, 2000)
  • Crazyladies of Pearl Street (June, 2005)

As Nicholas Seare

  • 1339 or So ...Being An Apology for A Pedlar (1975) (1339 or So... was, in early form, a stage play titled Eve of the Bursting)
  • Rude Tales And Glorious (1983)

Short stories

  • Switching; by Trevanian. Playboy Magazine. December 1978. (Note: a revised version of this story appeared in Hot Night in the City as After Hours at Rick's)
  • Minutes of a Village Meeting; by Beat Le Cagot, translated by Trevanian. Harper's Monthly. February 1979. pgs. 60 - 63. (Note: a revised version of this story appeared in Hot Night in the City.)
  • That Fox-of-a-Beat; by Beat Le Cagot, translated by Trevanian. Yale Literary Magazine. 1984. Vol. 151, No 1, pgs 25-33. (Note: a revised version of this story appeared in Hot Night in the City.)
  • The Secrets of Miss Plimsoll, Private Secretary; by Trevanian. Redbook. March 1984. (Note: a revised version of this story appeared in Hot Night in the City as The Sacking of Miss Plimsoll.)
  • The Apple Tree: by Trevanian. The Antioch Review. Yellow Springs: Spring 2000. Vol. 58, Iss. 2; p. 195 (14 pages)
  • Waking to the Spirit Clock; by Trevanian. The Antioch Review. Yellow Springs: Summer 2003. Vol. 61, Iss. 3; p. 409

Other works

  • "Eve of the Bursting", by Rod Whitaker. A drama in three acts, 1959; performed at the University Playhouse at the University of Washington. Rod Whitaker directed. Jerry Pournelle was company manager of the production.
  • Contributed an Introduction to the 1998 Re-issue of A Climb Up to Hell by Jack Olsen. 1st Ed. Harper & Row, 1962, New York, 1962. Reprint Edition by Griffin House (St. Martins Press), New York, 1998. Introduction Copyright 1998 by Trevanian.
  • Contributed a Testimonial to the website of the Theory of Eight. Testimonial Copyright 2000 by Trevanian.
  • Edited and Contributed an Introduction to the short-story mystery collection Death Dance: Suspenseful Stories of the Dance Macabre. Cumberland House, 2002. Introduction Copyright 2002 by Trevanian.
  • The Crazyladies of Pearl Street Cybernotes Companion. Copyright 2005 by Trevanian.
  • The Street of the Four Winds - Part I Internet Edition'. Copyright 2005 by Trevanian.

See also




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