By Wallace Stegner
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Additional info for Angle of Repose (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)
Later, in addition to writing histories and the memoir-history Wolf Willow, which came out of an investigation of his own roots, he would do extensive historical research as a basis for several of his novels, including, of course, Angle of Repose. The second important period in Wallace’s life would bring further support to his passion for history and to his interest in his roots. After leaving Saskatchewan, the family eventually ended up in Salt Lake City, where Wallace spent his teenage years.
The Foote family gave McMurray the papers with the understanding that he was going to publish from them and that he would supply typed transcriptions of the letters to the family. McMurray planned to do the dissertation under Stegner’s direction, but a decade went by with no progress, and he finally gave up. During the mid- 1960s, Stegner borrowed the transcriptions from the library and took them with him to his summer home in Vermont to read. Reading her quaintly 19th century letters, I thought her interesting but certainly not the subject of a novel.
She hoped that through Stegner’s work, interest in her grandmother’s life and work would be revived. When Stegner decided to go ahead with a novel based in part on the papers, Janet told him to use the papers in whatever way he wished. Stegner assumed that she, who had had custody of the papers, spoke for the family. ” What the Footes meant was explained by Janet’s sister, Evelyn Foote Gardiner, when she stated in an interview: “I thought he would write something like Irving Stone’s biographical novels.