The American West as Living Space

Wallace Stegner
A passionate work about the fragile and arid West that Stegner loves


The American West as Living Space is based on a series of lectures Wallace Stegner gave at the University of Michigan Law School in late October of 1986.

Stegner chooses not to approach his topic from any one aspect of the West either mythical or factual: its geography; the romance of the wagon trains and gold rushes; the economy of the New West of sunshine cities or six-shooter freedom. Instead, Stegner strives to give an impression of the West, as he writes, "in all its manifestations, to try a holistic portrait, a look at the gestalt, the whole shebang, then settle for a clear impression of some treelike, spearlike, or ropelike part."

Finally, Stegner concedes, "I have painted with a broad brush because there was no space to do more; and in the end I have concluded that the space limitation was salutary: it made me concentrate upon the essentials and kept me from getting tangled up in detail. And I have been personal because the West is not only a region but a state of mind, and both the region and the state of mind are my native habitat."

Look Inside


1 Living Dry / 1
2 Striking the Rock / 29
3 Variations on a Theme by Crevecoeur / 61

Bibliography / 87

Product Details

  • 5 x 8.
  • 104pp.
  • 2 B&W photographs.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1988
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06375-8

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  • $20.95 U.S.