Wallace Stegner, Former UI Faculty

Prize Work: Angle of Repose; Pulitzer Prize: 1972 Fiction

Wallace StegnerWallace Stegner (born 1909, died 1993) was an American author.

Author Biography - Wallace Stegner (1909 -- 1993) was born in Lake Mills, Iowa. He was the second son of Hilda Emelia (Paulson) and George Henry Stegner. They lived a nomadic life moving from North Dakota, Washington, Saskatchewan, Montana and Wyoming before settling down in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1921. He and his brother, Cecil, grew up hunting, fishing, and exploring the West that he learned to admire and respect.

Stegner graduated from the University of Utah in 1930. His professors arranged a teaching assistantship for him at the University of Iowa, so he could pursue his writing. He received his M.A. in 1932 and Ph.D. in 1935. While at Iowa he met his wife, Mary Page. After graduation they moved back to the West where he found a teaching position at the University of Utah. While there Stegner wrote Remembering Laughter, which won a novelette contest advertised by Little, Brown and Company. This marked the real beginning of his writing career. In 1937, he began teaching at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Two years later, he moved farther East and accepted a faculty post at Harvard. It was during his time there that he completed his first big novel, The Big Rock Candy Mountain. This autobiographical work was published in 1943.

He remained at Harvard until 1945 when he moved back to the West and Stanford University. He served as the director of Stanford's Creative Writing Center from 1946 -- 1971. His students included some of the most notable contemporary writers of the American West. Larry McMurtry, Edward Abbey, Thomas McGuane, and Ken Kesey are only a few who were part of Stanford's writing program during Stegner's years there. Retiring in 1971 to devote himself full-time to writing, Stegner went on to publish eleven more major works including the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Angle of Repose and the National Book Award winner of 1977, The Spectator Bird. These are only two of the many awards and honors he received for his writing; there were also three O. Henry prizes, a Commonwealth Gold Medal, and the Western History Association Prize. Wallace Stegner died on April 12, 1993, after being seriously injured in an automobile accident in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Learn More About Stegner's Prize Winning Work: Angle of Repose

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

Angle of ReposeBook Description
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize when it was first published in 1971, Angle of Repose has also been selected by the editorial board of the Modern Library as one of the hundred best novels of the twentieth century.
        
Wallace Stegner's uniquely American classic centers on Lyman Ward, a noted historian who relates a fictionalized biography of his pioneer grandparents at a time when he has become estranged from his own family. Through a combination of research, memory, and exaggeration, Ward voices ideas concerning the relationship between history and the present, art and life, parents and children, husbands and wives. Set in many parts of the West, Angle of Repose is a story of discovery--personal, historical, and geographical--that endures as Wallace Stegner's masterwork: an illumination of yesterday's reality that speaks to today's.

"Angle of Repose is a long, intricate, deeply rewarding novel," wrote William Abrahams in the Atlantic Monthly. "[It] is neither the predictable historical-regional Western epic, nor the equally predictable four-decker family saga, the Forsytes in California, so to speak. . . . For all [its] breadth and sweep, Angle of Repose achieves an effect of intimacy, hence of immediacy, and, though much of the material is 'historical,' an effect of discovery also, of experience newly minted rather than a pageantlike re-creation. . . . Wallace Stegner has written a superb novel, with an amplitude of scale and richness of detail altogether uncommon in contemporary fiction."

Browse The Book
Front Cover| Copyright | Excerpt
(Taken from Amazon.com)

Read an interview

Taken from theparisreview.com, read this exclusive interview with Wallace Stegner, conducted by James R. Hepworth. (PDF) Read the exclusive interview >>

Bibliography - Wallace Stegner

Remembering the Laughter (1937)

The Big Rock Candy Mountain (1943)

Angle of Repose (1971)

The Spectator Bird (1976)

The Mills of the Kavanaughs (1951)

External Links on Wallace Stegner