Walter van Tilburg Clark, critiques

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Clark described his second novel, The City of Trembling Leaves , as "a token biography of Reno, a city of adolescence. The book focuses on a group of young people as they come of age in and around Reno, but the real issue is the development of an aesthetic of myth and symbol.

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A third Clark novel, The Track of the Cat , uses the Flaubertian technique of sensory realism to convince readers of the mythic reality of a mysterious black panther in cattle country, as well as to explore the personalities of the three brothers who are hunting the cat. These include the dreamer, reader, and thinker, Arthur; the hard-nosed, materialistic, practical Curt; and Hal, the one in between, whose practicality is modified by a willingness to respond to what Clark calls "the primitive.

After , a paralyzing writer's block set in, and Clark was unable to publish any more long works. Maybe he had written himself into a dead end and had just run out of approaches and ideas. His letters and public talks for the next twenty-odd years show that he was intensely interested in writing techniques, especially in symbol and myth. He was involved in a pursuit of technical and thematic perfection.


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But he had become such a stern task-master to himself that he was unable to finish project after project. During this time, Clark supported himself and his family by teaching. He never applied for a job, but was always busy. He taught for a time at the University of Nevada where he was involved in a dispute between the administration and the faculty. But Clark's heart was in Reno. When the University of Nevada offered him a special position, he came home.

Walter Van Tilburg Clark

Among his papers in the Special Collections Department of the University of Nevada Library are numerous beginnings—sketches of storylines and characters, or extended notes on symbols, or image structures for possible novels. One story, for example, was to be written as a game of chess. Some of these manuscripts got to 80 or pages before he abandoned them. Clark's mind was busy and fertile, yet he was unable to complete anything to his own satisfaction.

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He often became so discouraged that he threatened to throw his writings into the furnace. He called these moods "the dismals. In the papers, several themes recur often—on creative writing as an ideal study of English, on the techniques and craft of the short story, on the writer's life in the West, on history and myth. He was born in Nashua, Iowa. While an undergraduate at the University of Iowa, he was a varsity fencer and worked as both an itinerant wheat harvester and summer preacher in the Midwest.

He was a member of Sigma Delta Chi, an honorary journalistic society, which is now the Society of Professional Journalists. His love of language is evident in his numerous books, papers and speeches that turn highly specialized scholarly research into lively reading for the intelligent layman. Du kanske gillar. The Testaments Margaret Atwood Inbunden.


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Clark attended Reno schools, excelling in English and literature. He studied at the University of Nevada and received both his bachelor's and master's degrees in English. Over the course of his career, Clark held many brief positions teaching and lecturing across the country, including at the University of Vermont in , where he worked as a teaching assistant while completing work on a second master's degree.

This allowed him to return to the Northeast and spend time with his mother in the beloved family cabin in Maine.

Walter Van Tilburg Clark 'The Portable Phonograph' concluded

In November, he received national recognition when two of his poems were featured in Poetry. The strenuous schedule of teaching and coaching slowed his writing and took a tremendous toll on his health. To recuperate from exhaustion, Clark returned to the West, settling in Taos, New Mexico, where he socialized and intended to write.

But he wrote little. In , Random House published Track of the Cat, and critics generally received it well. Later that summer, the family moved to Virginia City, Nevada, where they bought a home. Also in , Clark's fourth major publication, The Watchful Gods and Other Stories, a collection of short stories, was released.

Walter Van Tilburg Clark - Wikipedia

In the fall of , Clark accepted a half-time teaching position at the University of Nevada, but resigned in June in protest over a dispute between the faculty and administration. From to , Clark lived and taught in Missoula, Montana. In the summer of , Clark accepted an eighteen-month contract with the University of Nevada to prepare a biography of the Comstock writer Alfred Doten, which led to his editing of Doten's journals.