Zane Grey

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Grey, Zane,

1872–1939, American writer of Western stories, b. Zanesville, Ohio, as Pearl Zane Gray, grad. Univ. of Pennsylvania, 1896. His melodramatic tales of the West and Southwest are vivid in topographical detail but improbable in character and situation. During his lifetime over 13 million copies of his books were sold, and his works did much to romanticize the popular image of the American West. Grey was best known for Riders of the Purple Sage (1912).


See biographies by F. Gruber (1970) and T. H. Pauly (2005); study by C. Jackson (1973, rev. ed. 1989).

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Grey, (Pearl) Zane

(1872–1939) writer; born in Zanesville, Ohio. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he practiced dentistry in New York City from 1898 to 1904, when he married and left his practice to concentrate on his writing. In 1907 he made his first trip to the West and this inspired him to start writing the "dime novels" that would make him one of America's all-time most popular authors. His Westerns, such as Riders of the Purple Sage (1912), featuring stereotypical characters in adventure-laden plots, helped establish the conventions of the genre; over 100 movies have been based on his writings. He lived in California and was an avid hunter and fisherman; his nearly 80 books included several on fishing.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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