11 thoughts on “George R. Stewart web site

  1. This is the site to look at if either you have read Earth Abides and been affected by it, or you want to know more about Dr Stewart. The next thing to do is to pre order Donald M Scott’s forthcoming book – The Life and Truth of George R Stewart. Mr Scott has included his personal knowledge of Dr Stewart and has researched in depth his life and work.
    McFarlane will publish in Late Spring / Early Summer.

  2. I came across a clipping last night with a reference you may already know
    about but just in case,

    The article is “California’s regionalists: a lode of written unorthodoxy,”
    Los Angeles Times March 29, 1981, page three by Gerald Haslam.

    In the article Haslam writes, “Frederick Bracher’s 1953 study for American
    Quarterly, ‘California’s Literary Regionalism,’ treated the state as a
    single place. Much has happened since….Some of Bracher’s points remain
    valid, if necessarily limited. The state’s authors, he argued, are
    identified by ‘a view from the inside,’ and that ‘the unorthodoxy of
    California writers may in the long run prove to be their chief contribution
    to American culture.’ He finally identified as major California literary
    figures Walter Van Tilburg Clark, George R. Stewart, Hans Otto Storm,
    Steinbeck, Saroyan, West, Jeffers, Schulberg.”

    So there you have it, GRS as a major literary figure in the early 1950s,
    but we knew that!

    • Well said, Sir! It was through simply reading Earth Abides that I made my first flight (!!) from England to California, following an invitation from Theodosia Stewart, his recently widowed wife, to have access to all Dr Stewarts manuscripts held in The Bancroft Library, UCB. Also, Audio recordings made during that trip, when I accompanied Mrs Stewart, Don Scott, Bob Lyon and others, are held at the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft.
      It was truly the trip of a lifetime!

  3. Does anyone know whether Stewart and Walter Van Tilburg Clark were acquainted? If so, what was the relationship, and do you know off-hand of any source material on the subject?

    • Thanks for the question, Anthony.

      I don’t recall seeing anything in the Stewart papers or his oral history about Clark, but since they were writing about the same topics at the same time and in proximity to each other, and since they would have had one mutual friend, Ken Carpenter, I think it highly likely that they met and perhaps exchanged ideas. Wallace Stegner, in his collection essays titled “Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs” has good essays about both men; he knew Stewart very well, and probably knew Clark, so that’s another possible connection. Stegner’s papers are in the Marriott Library at the U of Utah. Hope this helps.

      • Thanks, Rangerdon. My question was prompted by happening to read the passage in “Sheep Rock” where Stewart’s character compares Sheep Rock [= Black Rock] to a black lion or black panther. A quick trip to the book shelf reminded me that Clark’s “Track of the Cat” appeared 2 years before “Sheep Rock.” I wondered, therefore, if this was Stewart’s homage to Clark.
        Stegner and Clark knew each other personally. They were of course peers, both as novelists and as teachers of writing. Stegner came to Virginia City to act as pallbearer at Clark’s funeral in 1971.
        Stewart’s name doesn’t appear in the index of Benson’s biography of Clark.

      • Dear Anthony,

        That’s an interesting “discovery” in Sheep Rock, and you could well be correct in your inference. I never asked Stewart about Clark, and in all the research for the book did not notice any references to Clark in Stewart’s letters etc. (Of course, I wasn’t looking for Clark references.)

        There’s nothing in Stewart’s Oral History, but there might be a letter to Stewart in the GRS Papers at the Bancroft. There’s no separate listing for a letter to a Clark, but one might be in the folder that includes “C” letters.

        It is interesting that Clark resigns in protest from UNR in 1953. At the same time, GRS writes a letter offering to help a young professor at UNR who is being accused of “communist” ideas. Clark may have resigned because of the University’s attempt to drive the professor out.

        There is a fine special collections division at UNR which has a large amount of GRS material and Clark material. The Librarian I’ve worked with there is Donnelyn Curtis, who has been very helpful. You might contact her about this.

        I think you have a great research question here, and a project. If I can help in any other way, I’ll do so. I have one other idea and will pursue it. Keep me posted.

        Don Scott George R. Stewart Biographer

  4. It happens I met Donnie Curtis when I visited the Clark archive at UNR Special Collections in November. She had recently curated an exhibition about mid-century “Bohemian” artists in Nevada, one of whom, Robert Caples, Clark’s good friend and the model for Lawrence Black in “The City of Trembling Leaves, was an object of my research there. It wasn’t till I return home to Indiana that I became aware of George Stewart. I’ve put the connection on my agenda for another trip to Reno later this year.
    Regarding Clark’s resignation, I don’t remember the details but the events surrounding it are recorded in the Benson biography of Clark, “The Ox-Bow Man.” Clark was, of course, the son of a former long-time president of UN — that dates to before there was a UNLV.

    • One of the interesting things about Stewart is that those who write biographies of related writers usually ignore Stewart. For example, he was a profound influence on Stegner — Stegner himself tells us this in several places — but Benson mentions Stewart only briefly. Philip Fradkin’s biography of Stegner does not mention GRS at all. (I was asked to do a critical review of Fradkin but declined.) Fortunately, other writers and artists influenced by GRS do honor him — McMurtry, King, Stegner, Robinson, film director Bitomsky, composer Aaberg, Disney — do honor him. My book is intended, as much as anything else, to bring GRS the honors he’s due.

      GRS was his own man, and he did not play politics. My hypothesis is that these qualities of character offended the culture vultures who “make” literary stars, although I don’t say this in the book.

      You’re working on Clark, I assume?

      • To say I’m working on Clark would be misleading. It’s more a matter of personal archaeology, which may but probably won’t result in anything for publication. In 1963 I met Clark, who generously repaid my fan letter for “The City of Trembling Leaves” by taking me to Pyramid Lake. I was actually on my way to begin my year in Stegner’s graduate writing program — but regretfully had no idea then that they knew each other, so never even mentioned my meeting with Clark to Stegner. It would have given me some cred — more than my writing, which Stegner didn’t care for. That was my last contact with Clark, but from him I got an introduction to Robert Caples, whom I met in 1964 and with whom I became friends. We corresponded until his death in 1979. So recently I’ve been digging around in that past.

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