Sound of Mountain Water

Sound of Mountain Water

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780140266740
  • 288 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult


The essays, memoirs, letters, and speeches in this volume were written over a period of twenty-five years, a time in which the West witnessed rapid changes to its cultural and natural heritage, and Wallace Stegner emerged as an important conservationist and novelist. This collection is divided into two sections: the first features eloquent sketches of the West’s history and environment, directing our imagination to the sublime beauty of such places as San Juan and Glen Canyon; the concluding section examines the state of Western literature, of the mythical past versus the diminished present, and analyzes the difficulties facing any contemporary Western writer. The Sound of Mountain Water is both a hymn to the Western landscape, an affirmation of the hope embodied therein, and a careful investigation of the West’s cultural and natural legacy.

Table of Contents


Part I
1. Overture: The Sound of Mountain Water
2. The Rediscovery of America: 1946
3. Packhorse Paradise
4. Navajo Rodeo
5. San Juan and Glen Canyon
6. Glen Canyon Submersus
7. The Land of Enchantment
8. Coda: Wilderness Letter
Part II
1. At Home in the Fields of the Lord
2. Born a Square
3. History, Myth, and the Western Writer
4. On the Writing of History
5. Three Samples:
a. The West Synthetic: Bret Harte
b. The West Authentic: Willa Cather
c. The West Emphatic: Bernard De Voto
6. The Book and the Great Community

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