Stegner, Wallace

Stegner, Wallace,

1909–93, American writer, b. Lake Mills, Iowa, grad. Univ. of Utah (1930). He wrote perceptively of the American West in short stories, e.g., The Woman on the Wall (1950); novellas, e.g., On a Darkling Plain (1940); and novels, e.g., The Big Rock Candy Mountain (1943), Angle of Repose (1971; Pulitzer Prize), and Crossing to Safety (1987). In addition, he wrote a number of biographies. Stegner was also a pioneering conservationist and an influential teacher of writing at Harvard and Stanford.


See biographies by J. J. Benson (1997) and P. L. Fradkin (2008); P. Stegner, ed., The Selected Letters of Wallace Stegner (2008); studies by M. and L. Lewis (1972), A. Arthur, ed. (1982), C. Meine, ed. (1997), J. J. Benson (1998 and 2001), and P. L. Franklin (2008).

Stegner, Wallace (Earle)

(1909–93) writer, educator; born in Lake Mills, Iowa. The son of Scandinavian immigrants, he lived in a half-dozen western states with his family before they settled in Salt Lake City, Utah. After completing his education at the Universities of Utah (B.A. 1930) and Iowa (Ph.D. 1935), he began teaching English, a career that would take him to several major universities; for most of it he was at Stanford University where he directed the Creative Writing Center (1945–71). Starting with Restoring Laughter (1937), he published over two dozen novels, collections of short stories and essays, and historical works; The Big Rock Candy Mountain (1943) was among his most popular novels while Angel of Repose (1972) won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction. His nonfiction works include biographies of John Wesley Powell, Joe Hill, and Bernard DeVoto. Most of his works dealt with the American West, which he viewed with a mixture of skepticism about its stereotypes, yet respect for its strengths. In his later years he increasingly expressed his concern for the damage being done to the natural environment of the West.