Wallace Stegner: His Life and Work

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-05-01
  • Publisher: Univ of Nebraska Pr

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In a career spanning more than fifty years, Wallace Stegner (190993) emerged as the greatest contemporary author of the American Westwriting more than two dozen works of history, biography, essays, and fiction, including the Pulitzer Prize-winningAngle of Reposeand the bestsellingCrossing to Safety. Jackson J. Benson'sWallace Stegner: His Life and Workis the first full-dress biography of this celebrated "Dean of Western Writers." Drawing on nearly ten years of research and unlimited access to Stegner's letters and personal files, Benson traces the trajectory of Wallace Stegner's life from his birth on his grandfather's Iowa farm to his prominence as an award-winning writer, critic, historian, environmental activist, and teacher, and as founder of Stanford's creative writing program. But Benson's book is as much a consideration of Stegner's literary legacy as it is a retelling of his life. His critical reassessment of the entire body of Stegner's work argues convincingly for his subject's place in the literary canonnot merely as a "regional" Western writer but straightforwardly as one of the great American writers of the twentieth century.

Author Biography

Jackson J. Benson is a professor of English emeritus at San Diego State University. He is the author of several books, including The True Adventures of John Steinbeck, Writer, The Ox-Bow Man: A Biography of Walter Van Tilburg Clark, and most recently, Under the Big Sky: A Biography of A. B. Guthrie Jr. (Nebraska 2009).

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
List of Illustrationsp. xvii
Introduction: Against the Grain-A Heritage of Integrityp. 1
The Last Homestead Frontier: A Prairie Childhoodp. 16
From Primitive to Intellectual: The Education of Wallace Stegnerp. 39
From Student to Professor: The Further Education of Wallace Stegnerp. 54
Becoming a Novelist: Write a Novel and Win a Prizep. 68
Accomplished Writer, Harvard Teacher, and Friend to the Famous: What More Do You Need?p. 83
Hard Work at Harvard: Climbing the Big Rock Candy Mountainp. 99
Looking Back at the West From Cambridgep. 116
From the Fight Against Rugged Individualism to the Fight Against Prejudice and Racismp. 132
Back to Fiction, On to Stanfordp. 151
Abandoning the Novel and Embracing the Short Storyp. 171
From Short Story Writer to Environmentalistp. 192
To the Barricades for the Environmentp. 211
Travel, Travel Literature, and the Search for Narrative Voicep. 233
An All-Star Castp. 248
The Struggle to Locate Oneselfp. 267
Historian and "Contemporary"p. 290
Trouble in the Sixtiesp. 311
A New Lifep. 333
The Pulitzer and Beyondp. 344
Back to Biography and Another Prizewinning Novelp. 364
The Past That Comes Back to Haunt Usp. 381
Crossing to Safetyp. 396
Giving all to Timep. 412
Notes and Documentationp. 423
Indexp. 457
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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