Read Wallace Stegner: His Life and Work by Jackson J. Benson Online

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When Jackson Benson's biography of John Steinbeck was published in 1984, it was hailed as definitive and reviewed on the front page of every major newspaper in the country. Now, in an equally groundbreaking work, Benson takes on the late Wallace Stegner--conservationist, teacher, and author of more than two dozen works of history, biography, essays, and fiction, includingWhen Jackson Benson's biography of John Steinbeck was published in 1984, it was hailed as definitive and reviewed on the front page of every major newspaper in the country. Now, in an equally groundbreaking work, Benson takes on the late Wallace Stegner--conservationist, teacher, and author of more than two dozen works of history, biography, essays, and fiction, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Angle of Repose (1971), the National Book Award-winning Spectator Bird (1976), and the bestselling Crossing to Safety (1987). Drawing on nearly ten years of research and hundreds of hours of interviews, this authorized biography traces the trajectory of Stegner's life from his prairie childhood in Saskatchewan and teenage years in Salt Lake City to his prominence in the environmental movement and the impact of his Stanford University creative writing program--whose students included Larry McMurtry, Robert Stone, Ken Kesey, and Ivan Doig. Wallace Stegner is a close encounter with one of the greatest American writers of our time....

Title : Wallace Stegner: His Life and Work
Author :
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ISBN : 9780140247961
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 496 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Wallace Stegner: His Life and Work Reviews

  • Chuck
    2019-01-01 07:20

    More than half a century ago, I enrolled in a college course on the short story. The professor was distinguished-looking and highly articulate, with a fondness for discovering literary epiphanies, and for the short stories of Bret Harte. I knew nothing about him personally, and the only thing I recognized about his professional career was that he had co-edited a collection of short stories that was one of the course texts.My ignorance of Wallace Stegner's life and works has been belatedly but amply remediated by Jackson Benson's excellent biography of him. Benson knew Stegner personally, and had his cooperation for the project, but as his subject once playfully predicted, the biography did not come to fruition until after Stegner's death.Wallace Stegner's fiction was firmly entrenched in the realist tradition, and although it was not purely autobiographical, a good bit of it drew heavily from his own history, including humble origins and a difficult childhood. (Little did I realize that the man lecturing on James Joyce had once lived in a family tent, and traveled from one homestead to another by horse and wagon.) Benson adroitly identifies the factual elements in Stegner's novels and short stories, placing them in the context of Stegner's rich and interesting life. He also offers extended critical but balanced commentary on many of Stegner's writings.At the time of my encounter with him, Stegner had already achieved considerable distinction if not commensurate recognition; he had published eight novels and a lot of assorted non-fiction. Typecast as a "Western writer" (he was indeed that, but much more), even his later work often failed to attract attention in the Eastern press; neither his Pulitzer Prize novel Angle of Repose nor his National Book Award novelThe Spectator Bird received reviews in The New York Times. Although Stegner was anything but self-aggrandizing, his pride was understandably wounded by such exclusions.As a university professor, Stegner taught a few antagonistic students whose reputations soon exceeded his own, a fact that he sometimes found galling. A strong traditionalist, he was particularly distressed by the attitudes expressed by "hippies" and "acid freaks" who rejected the "system" without proposing any positive replacements. Needless to say, Stegner was not enamored of the acclaim that Ken Kesey received, although he was apparently quite content with the successes of other former students such as Edward Abbey, Wendell Berry, and Larry McMurtry.Wallace Stegner was not only an author; he was a political and environmental activist. He participated in anti-war demonstrations, he served briefly as an assistant to Secretary of the Interior Stuart Udall during the Kennedy administration, and he held a four-year appointment on the board of the Sierra Club. His passionate environmental concerns frequently showed up in his books and articles.I remember Stegner as a modest man who exuded delight in sharing his enthusiasm for good literature with his students. You didn't get lectures like Wallace Stegner's from a stuffed shirt. And he wasn't one.

  • LibraryCin
    2018-12-31 01:22

    Wallace Stegner was an American author, known for writing about the West. As the title suggests, this book looks at his life, and delves into some criticism of his works, as well. Generally, I like biographies. For me, I would have liked more “life” and less “works” in this book. I enjoyed the first part of the book, when it focused on his childhood in Southern Saskatchewan (close to where I grew up), and his teenage years in Salt Lake City, and some of his time as a university student. From there, he went on to write, as well as teach at Harvard and Stanford. This is where the book was often “interrupted” with criticism of his various works. Maybe this would have been more interesting for me, if I'd read some of them (I've only read his childhood autobiography, Wolf Willow). Admittedly, a lot of his fiction was based on people in his life, so it did sort of parallel, but there was more criticism than I was interested in and that's where I would often (though not always) lose focus on the book. Overall, I thought it was o.k.

  • PJ Beck
    2018-12-25 07:31

    Interesting man with strong roots not just in the 'West' but Utah. A man of principal and a deep love for his wife, partner, editor and critic. Interesting how he has always fused his personal life into the web of the story line. Very often he wrote about people he knew or who had impacted him. He is an excellent writer with an ability to convey a womans point of view. This ability must stem from his own strong mother and then his strong wife. Very interesting if....you like his works.

  • Trudy Jaskela
    2019-01-13 07:19

    Interesting, however a bit too much detail for me.

  • Drew Johnson
    2019-01-15 01:21

    Increased my desire to write and too focus on relationships.

  • Sally Leath
    2019-01-11 06:35

    A beautiful description of Stegner and his many contributions to the American West.

  • David
    2019-01-10 05:34

    Even for fans, this book details a life and mind far more amazing than we would have envisioned.