After five years and 171 posts, reviewing George R. Stewart’s work, reporting on projects being developed to honor him, and describing his influence on human societythis web log about George R. Stewart has come to a milestone. The weblog’s author is moving.
It’s been a luxury to have a comfortable place to research and write about him, and hopefully that’s been reflected in posts that are longer and more readable than ones written on the fly. Now, the author is leaving his comfortable office, and heading out to seek new adventures. This means that there may be gaps in the posts, and posts may be less developed.
Fortunately, this is a milestone in other ways.
For one thing, all of his major work has been described here on this site. So without reading all of Stewart’s books, the fans of some of them can see the intellectual and artistic context in which they are placed. His masterwork Earth Abides, for example, can be seen as the pinnacle of his ecological novels – the books in which the ecosystem, not humans, is the protagonist. And readers of this web log will now also know that Stewart’s ecological best sellers, published long before Earth Day or the rise of the Environmental Consciousness, certainly helped bring that Consciousness about.
It is a milestone, too, in sharing those honors which he is increasingly gathering. The interpretive sign at Donner Summit is in place during the summer when the old highway he immortalized, U.S. 40, is open to traffic. The GRS ePlaque is now online at the Berkeley Historical Plaque site. (Someday, if funding is found and permission gathered, a physical plaque could be placed at the site of Stewart’s San Luis Road home.) Junlin Pan, Chinese scholar, is well along in her difficult translation of Names on the Land for an immense Chinese audience eager to learn about America. The sheet music for Philip Aaberg’s Earth Abides is soon to be published, thanks (like the US 40 sign) to the contributions of friends of Stewart. And, just perhaps, there’s an Earth Abides mini-series on the horizon. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to have been part of these things.
New GRS Interpretive Sign, Donner Summit, Historic U.S. 40, just above the Rainbow Bridge and Donner lake, and just below George R. Stewart Peak.
Along the way of the weblog, we’ve been reminded of how Stewart’s work still directs us, and encourages us. One of the great Stewart interpreters, for example, recently refused to sign an illegal loyalty oath in his unenlightened college system – a college system in a state whose voters salivate over the chance to pack weapons into diners, but apparently have little use for freedom of thought. Surely, that Stewart interpreter, that hero of thought, (a famous poet and author), was inspired by Stewart’s Year of the Oath. And as the ecosystem gets our attention through climate change, we can all be reassured by the ecological novels that humans can survive and transcend any such changes.
Stewart once wrote that although his scholarly life had often been a lonely
one, he had enjoyed some fine meetings along the way. That is true for this web log, as well. It’s brought us into conversations with a professor at Temple University, well-known author Christopher Priest, and several dedicated Stewart fans, who’ve all shared their experiences with Stewart’s books. It brought into the light a remarkable 1929 silent film of George R. Stewart and his parents, visiting his wife’s Wilson relatives in Pasadena – a film now copied, thanks to Ross Wilson Bogert and his son, and placed in the Bancroft, other Stewart collections, and the collections of the Stewart family.
So we’ve done a lot. And if this weblog needs to take a break, it’s earned the right to do it.
But the site will return, because there’s much yet to discuss. Stewart’s friends, for example, like C.S. Forester and Wallace Stegner and Bruce Catton and Frost and Sandburg and all the rest. And there will be news, of that you can be sure, about George R. Stewart and his continuing influence on us all.
Thanks to you, readers, for enriching and expanding this weblog with your comments, your encouragement, your suggestions, your support, and your continuing interest in things Stewartian.
from the anna evenson stewart family photo collection