wall-ace earle stegner

Wallace Stegner

Wallace Earle Stegner (February 18, 1909April 13, 1993) was an American historian, novelist, short story writer, and environmentalist, often called "The Dean of Western Writers.

Early life

He was born in Lake Mills, Iowa and grew up in Great Falls, Montana, Salt Lake City, Utah and southern Saskatchewan, which he wrote about in his autobiography Wolf Willow. Stegner says he "lived in twenty places in eight states and Canada". While living in Utah, he joined a Boy Scout troop at a Mormon church (though he was not Mormon but Presbyterian himself) and earned the Eagle Scout award. He received his B.A. at the University of Utah in 1930.


He taught at the University of Wisconsin and Harvard University, and then he settled in at Stanford University, where he founded the creative writing program. His students included Sandra Day O'Connor, Edward Abbey, Wendell Berry, Simin Daneshvar, George V. Higgins (who disliked Stegner intensely and felt him to be a poor teacher), Thomas McGuane, Ken Kesey, Gordon Lish, Ernest Gaines, and Larry McMurtry. He served as a special assistant to Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall. He was elected to the Sierra Club board of directors for a term that lasted 1964—1966. He also moved into a house in nearby Los Altos Hills and became one of the town's most prominent residents.


Stegner's novel Angle of Repose won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1972, and was directly based on the letters of Mary Hallock Foote (later published as the memoir A Victorian Gentlewoman in the Far West). Stegner's use of uncredited passages taken directly from Foote's letters caused a continuing controversy. Stegner also won the National Book Award for The Spectator Bird in 1977. In the late 1980s, he refused a National Medal from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1992 because he believed the NEA had become too politicized.

His non-fiction works include "Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West" (1954), a biography of John Wesley Powell, the first man to explore the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon and his subsequent career as a government scientist and advocate of water conservation in the American West.

A substantial number of his works are set in and around Greensboro, Vermont, where he lived part-time. Some of his character representations (particularly in Second Growth) were sufficiently unflattering that residents took offense, and he did not visit Greensboro for several years after that.


He died in Santa Fe, New Mexico, while visiting the city to give a lecture. His death on 13 April 1993 was the result of injuries suffered in an automobile accident on March 28, 1993. He is the father of nature writer Page Stegner.



  • Remembering Laughter (1937)
  • The Potter's House (1938)
  • On a Darkling Plain (1940)
  • Fire and Ice (1941)
  • The Big Rock Candy Mountain (autobiographical) (1943)
  • Second Growth (1947)
  • The Preacher And the Slave aka Joe Hill: A Biographical Novel (1950)
  • A Shooting Star (1961)
  • All the Little Live Things (1967)
  • Angle of Repose (1971) - Pulitzer Prize
  • The Spectator Bird (1976) - National Book Award winner
  • Recapitulation (1979)
  • Crossing to Safety (1987)


  • The Women On the Wall (1950)
  • The City of the Living: And Other Stories (1957)
  • Writer's Art: A Collection of Short Stories (1972)
  • Collected Stories of Wallace Stegner (1990)
  • Late Harvest: Rural American Writing (1996) (with Bobbie Ann Mason)


  • Genesis: A Story from Wolf Willow (1994)


  • Mormon Country (1942)
  • One Nation (1945)
  • Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West (1954)
  • Wolf Willow: A History, a Story, and a Memory of the Last Plains Frontier (autobiography) (1955)
  • The Gathering of Zion: The Story of the Mormon Trail (1964)
  • Teaching the Short Story (1966)
  • The Sound of Mountain Water (1969)
  • Discovery! The Search for Arabian Oil (1971)
  • Writer in America (1982)
  • Conversations With Wallace Stegner on Western History and Literature (1983)
  • This Is Dinosaur: Echo Park Country And Its Magic Rivers (1985)
  • American Places (1985)
  • On the Teaching of Creative Writing (1988)
  • The Uneasy Chair: A Biography of Bernard Devoto (1989)
  • Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs, 'Living and writing in the west', (autobiographical) (1992)

Further reading about Stegner

  • 1982 Critical Essays on Wallace Stegner, edited by Anthony Arthur, G. K. Hall & Co.
  • 1983 Conversations with Wallace Stegner on Western History and Literature, Wallace Stegner and Richard Etulain, University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City
  • 1984 Wallace Stegner: His Life and Work by Jackson J. Benson
  • 2008 Wallace Stegner and the American West by Philip L. Fradkin


Plus: Three O. Henry Awards, twice a Guggenheim Fellow, Senior Fellow of the National Institute of Humanities, member of National Institute and Academy of Arts and Letters, member National Academy of Arts and Sciences.

See also



  • Topping, Gary. Utah Historians and the Reconstruction of Western History. 2003, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma. ISBN 0-8061-3561-1

External links

Search another word or see wall-ace earle stegneron Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature