Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Books & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Sc-Tr)

Stegner, Wallace


(US, 1909–93)

Stegner was prolific as both historian and fictional chronicler of the American West, particularly its harsh migration and settlement experience. In Wolf Willow: A Memory of the Last Plains Frontier (1962), Stegner combines autobiography with a history of the town he grew up in. His novels are mostly large realist family sagas, carefully detailed yet emotionally turbulent. The best known, The Big Rock Candy Mountain (1943), follows over several decades the consequences of Bo and Elsa's marriage, their bitter conflicts while raising children, from homesteading in Saskatchewan to bootlegging during the Prohibition era. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Angle of Repose (1971) is a fiction based on documentary material in which Lyman Ward, a retired professor in California, meditates on his grandparents' lives a hundred years before while confronting his own health problems. Stegner's late novels, notably The Spectator Bird (1976), contrast contemporary cynicism with the aspirations of earlier generations.

John Steinbeck, Jim Harrison  JS

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