Wallace Stegner (Wallace Earle Stegner) Biography
(1909–1993), (Wallace Earle Stegner), Remembering Laughter, Fire and Ice, The Big Rock Candy Mountain
American novelist, historian, and biographer, born in Lake Mills, Iowa, educated at the University of Utah and the State University of Iowa. After teaching at Harvard, he held a professorship at Stanford University, California, from 1945 to 1976. His early novels, which establish the concern with identity, individuality, and community that runs throughout his work, include Remembering Laughter (1937) and Fire and Ice (1941). The Big Rock Candy Mountain (1943), an expansive treatment of a family's wanderings through the Midwest and Canada, brought him wide notice as a novelist. Notable among his numerous subsequent novels are The Preacher and the Slave (1950), based on the life of the radical Joe Hill, A Shooting Star (1961), in which powerful female protagonists predominate, and Angle of Respose (1971), which won a Pulitzer Prize for its rendering of the life of the writer Mary Hallock Foote (1847–1938). The Spectator Bird (1976) and Recapitulation (1979) conduct retrospective evaluations of change in the twentieth century through their chief protagonists' recreations of their pasts. His works as a historian include Mormon Country (1941), The Gathering of Zion (1964), an account of the Mormon migration of 1846–7, and Wolf Willow (1962), which combines an autobiographical view of the Saskatchewan town where he grew up with a conventional history of the community. The most highly regarded of his works of non-fiction is Beyond the Hundreth Meridian (1954), his biography of the explorer and naturalist John Wesley Powell (1834–1902), whose writings Stegner has edited. His other publications include the essays collected in One Way to Spell Man (1982) and Where the Bluebird Sings (1992), a study of living and writing in the American West.