The 20th Century American Mountaineering Canon: Parsing the Historical, Literary, and Personal

David Stevenson

29 November 2017 | 3154 Angell Hall | 5 p.m.
The 20th Century American Mountaineering Canon: Parsing the Historical, Literary, and Personal | David Stevenson

“And what is good, Phaedrus, And what is not good—
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?”

In 2002 as part of a celebration of the American Alpine Club’s centennial I was tasked with compiling a list of the “best” American mountaineering books written in that century. In my introduction I equivocate much about “best,” substituting, “influential,” “historical,” “representative.” In the end, all that can be said with any certainty is that the list is chronological. In Jill Neate’s preface to Mountaineering Literature she observes, “A practicable definition of ‘mountaineering book’ continues to eludes me.” In this talk and conversation I will revisit that list, its methodology (such as it was), speculate about what books written since then would be likely candidates and discuss how different these choices might be for me if the list were “personal” rather than “public.”

David Stevenson has been the book review editor of the American Alpine Journal since 1995. His fiction collection, Letters from Chamonix, won the Banff Mountain Book Award for Fiction and Poetry in 2014. His collected mountaineering essays, Warnings Against Myself: Meditations on a Life in Climbing was published in 2016 by the University of Washington Press. He received the H. Adams Carter Literary Award from the American Alpine Club in 2017. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Utah and works as a professor of English at the University of Alaska Anchorage where he directs the MFA program in creative writing. His home range is the Chugach.
Report Event As Inappropriate Contact Event Organizers

When and Where

Map Angell Hall - 3154

November 2017

 iCal  Google
5:00pm - 6:30pm

Explore Similar Events

  •  Loading Similar Events...