Crucial Role of the Environment in the Writings of George Stewart (1895-1980)

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This is the first book-length biography of George Rippy Stewart (1895-1980), one of the most influential and neglected U.S. writers of the mid-20th century. Stewart’s works highlighted many of the concerns and issues of U.S. culture in the last century, from McCarthyism to Environmentalism.


“Professor Waage brings the distinguished career of George R. Stewart to light. This critical biography, the first book-length study of Stewart, discusses nearly all of Stewart’s books and many of his articles, giving special attention to the environmental thread that runs through them and to those works most explicitly ecological in design. A strength of this book is its illumination of 1940s and 1950s intellectual currents, along with Stewart’s contributions to them ... This book will make you want to read Stewart’s books, not only for their historical interest, but for their enduring insights about the human condition on earth.” – (from the Preface) Professor Cheryl Glotfelty, University of Nevada, Reno

“Dr. Fred Waage has fashioned a searching, well-documented account of the career of George R. Stewart (1895-1980), a 20th-century author who wrote on nature-culture strife well before Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson. Stewart explored the relationships between places, ecology, and the contours of history and literature ... His work influenced Steinbeck, Stegner and Frost; yet today, few remember Stewart for his innovative and often courageous stands ... To this literary ecologist, Americans owe much, and now they owe an equal debt to Dr. Waage’s important and pioneering study.” – Professor William Howarth, Princeton University

“This new biography of George R. Stewart comes at the right time. The recent devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina recalls the original great American disaster novel, Stewart’s Storm, published in 1941. So, too, are present concerns over global warming and avian flu anticipated by Stewart's 1949 novel about a global pandemic, Earth Abides ... The picture that emerges in this first full-length study of Stewart’s life and work is one of a border-crossing novelist and writer among the disciplines of history, anthropology, and the natural sciences. These are precisely the sorts of interdisciplinary and environmental strengths that inform Dr. Waage’s insights, and make many of Stewart’s books welcome reading and re-reading by today’s audiences.” – Glen A. Love, Professor Emeritus, The University of Oregon

Table of Contents

Preface by Cheryl Glotfelty
Note on Documentation
I. Indiana to Berkeley
II. Berkeley to Donner Pass
III. The Storm Breaks
IV. World on Fire
V. Earth and Oath
VI. Rock, Road, City
VII. Various Excursions
VIII. Trail’s End

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