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Nevada Writers Hall of Fame: Frank Bergon

Frank Bergon

Frank Bergon (1943–  )
Nevada Writers Hall of Fame 1998

Frank Bergon was born in Ely, Nevada, on February 24, 1943, and raised on a ranch in San Joaquin Valley, California. He received his B.A. in English from Boston College, and in 1965, he attended Stanford University as a Wallace Stegner Fellow in 1966. He was a Woodrow Wilson fellow from 1966-67, and received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Harvard University in 1973. He was an American Council of Learned Societies fellow from 1979-80. He is Professor Emeritus of English at Vassar College, where he joined the faculty in 1972 and taught senior composition, Native American literature, and environmental studies. During his tenure there he was Director of American Studies. He was a visiting associate professor at the University of Washington in Seattle from 1980-81. In 1985-86 he was a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow.

His writing focuses on the history and environment of the American West, particularly writing about Native Americans and Basque Americans in the West. He has published several novels and anthologies, as well as edited the Penguin Nature Classics edition of The Journals of Lewis and Clark. He and his wife have published translations of Spanish poets.

His professional memberships included the Modern Language Association of America; the American Studies Association; the John Burroughs Association, serving on its Board of Directors; and the Western Literature Association. A senior center is named for him in Madera, California.

Bibliography for Frank Bergon


American Fighters: a Century of Boxing in Art. Poughkeepsie: Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, 1996. (Co-authored with Benjamin G. Kohl and Rebecca Lawton).

Delano: Another Crisis for the Catholic Church. Fresno: Rudell Pub., 1968. (co-authored with Murray Norris).

Jesse’s Ghost: a novel. Berkeley: Heyday, 2011.

Shoshone Mike. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1994. Available at the Knowledge Center, WNC-Fallon and WNC-Carson Libraries

Stephen Crane’s Artistry. New York: Columbia University Press, 1975. Available at the Knowledge Center and WNC-Carson Library

The Temptations of St. Ed and Brother S. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1993. Available at the Knowledge Center, GBC-Elko, WNC-Fallon, and WNC-Carson Libraries

Wild Game. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1995. Available at the Knowledge Center and GBC-Elko Library

Book Chapters, Collaborations and Editing

“Demons, Monks and Nuke Waste” in Science, Values, and the American WestEd. Stephen Tchudi. Reno: Nevada Humanities Committee, 1997. Available at the Knowledge Center, WNC-Fallon, WNC-Carson, GBC-Elko, and DRI Libraries

Ed. Frank Bergon and Zeese Papanikolas. Looking Far West: the Search for the American West in History, Myth and LiteratureNew York: American Library, 1978. Available at UNR Special Collections

Ed. Frank Bergon. A Sharp Lookout: Selected Nature Essays of John Burroughs. Washington D.C: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1987.

Ed. Frank Bergon. The Western Writings of Stephen Crane. New York: New American Library, 1979.

Ed. Frank Bergon. The Wilderness Reader. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1994.  Available at the Knowledge Center

“Excerpt from Shoshone Mike” in The River Underground: an Anthology of Nevada Fiction. Ed. Shaun T. Griffin. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2001. Available at the Knowledge Center, GBC-Elko, and WNC-Carson Libraries

Frank Bergon Reads from 'Jesse's Ghost'. YouTube. 

“Introduction” for The Journals of Lewis and Clark Ed. Frank Bergon. New York: Penguin Books, 1989. Available at UNR Special Collections

“The Journals of Lewis and Clark: An American Epic” in Old West—New West: Centennial Essays. Ed. Barbara Howard Meldrum. Moscow: University of Idaho Press, 1993. Available at the Knowledge Center

“’The Open Boat’ is a Story of Revelation” in Readings on Stephen Crane. Ed. Bonnie Szumski. San Diego, CA : Greenhaven Press, 1998.

“Sensitive to the Verge of the Horizon: The Environmentalism of John Burroughs” in Sharp Eyes: John Burroughs and American Nature Writing. Ed. Charlotte Zoe Walker. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2000. Available at the Knowledge Center

"Wild Game (excerpt)," in Literary Nevada: Writings from the Silver State. Edited by Cheryll Glotfelty. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2008; pp. 649-656. [Available: Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center and its Special Collections, the Basque Library, Western Nevada College-Carson City, and Great Basin College-Elko: PS 571 .N3 L57 2008]

“Wilderness Aesthetics” in Lewis & Clark: Legacies, Memories and New Perspectives. Kris Fresonke. University of California Press, 2004. 

Articles and Reviews

"An Amulet of Greek Earth: Generations of Immigrant Folk Culture (review)." Western American Literature. Vol. 38, no. 2 (Summer 2003), pp. 208-210. [Available: Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center: PS 271 .W46 and online for UNR-afflilated users, only]

“The Extreme West” Western American Literature 34 (1999): pp. 182-186. [Available: Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center: PS 271 .W46 and online for UNR-afflilated users, only]

“John Burroughs and the Place of Nature by James Perrin Warren (review).” American Literary Realism 40.1 (2007): 89-90.

“Louis Owens in the East” Steinbeck Studies (2002): 10-11.

“Romney & Inauthenticity: Our Age of Sincere Inauthenticity.”

“Wilderness Aesthetics” American Literary History 9.1 (1997): 128-161. 

Biographical Sources and Critical Response

Bingham, Edwin R. “Looking far West: The Search for the American West in History, Myth and Literature by Frank Bergon; Zeese Papanikolas.” Montana: The Magazine of Western History 29.3 (1979): 75. 

Campbell, Felicia. “Frank Bergon and Frank Waters: Parallel Environmental Concerns” in Studies in Frank Waters XVI: Environmental Concerns Ed. Charles L. Adams. Las Vegas: Frank Waters Soc., 1994.

Chisum, Jeffrey Aaron. “Lahontan: a novel; and, “A million miles from God, three feet from h ell”: Aesthetics and the literature of Nevada” University of Southern California, 2007. (thesis) 

Christensen, Jon. "My Slant: Nuclear Humanities?" Great Basin News (Summer 1996), p. 11. [Available: Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center's University Archives: AC 0519]

“Family Style” Gastronimca: The Journal of Food and Culture 1.4 (2001): 16-20. 

Frank Bergon Website.

“Frank Bergon” Contemporary Authors Online, 2008.

“Frank Bergon.” Marquis Who’s Who

Frank Bergon. Wikipedia.

"'Frontier Values and the Nuclear Age' lecture set tonight." The Frederick Post (Maryland). (April 9, 1984), p. A12.

Glotfelty, Cheryll. "State Pieces in the U.S. Regions Puzzle: Nevada and the Problem of Fit" in Regionalism and the Humanities. Edited by Timothy R. Mahoney and Wendy J. Katz. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008; pp. 237-250. [Available: Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center: E 179.5 .R44 2008]

Lauer, Stephanie. "Nevada Mystery Novels." Online Nevada Encyclopedia

"Literature of Nuclear Nevada." Online Nevada Encyclopedia

Mackedon, Michon. Bombast: Spinning Atoms in the Desert. Reno, NV: Black Rock Institute Press, 2010.  [Available: Mathewson-IGTKnowledge Center and its Special Collections: U 264.4 .N3 M33 2010]

Madinabeitia, Monica. “The environmental West in Frank Bergon’s fiction,” in Felisa Lopez Liquete, ed. American mirrors: (self)reflections and (self)distortions. [Balbao?}: Servicio Editorial de la Universidad des País Vasco, 2003-2005?

Mandinabeitia, Monica. "Frank Bergon." Online Nevada Encyclopedia

Madinabeitia, Monica. “Frank Bergon: a representation of Basqueness outside Euskal Herria” 

Madinabeitia, Monica. “Frank Bergon’s Fiction: Complexity, Polarization, Diversity” Exploring the American Literary West: International Perspectives. Ed. David Rio. Bilboa: University of the Basque Country Press, 2006.

Morris, Gregory L. Frank Bergon. Boise: Boise State University, 1997. Available at UNR Special Collections

Owens, Patricia Ann. "Sharp Eyes: John Burroughs and American Nature Writing." Library Journal July 2000: 132.

Raigadas, David Rio. “Entrevistas/Interviews” Atlantis 19.2 (1997): 227-249.

Rio, David. "The Desert as a National Sacrifice Zone: The Nuclear Controversy in Nevada Fiction," in Barros-Grela, Eduardo and Jose Liste-Noya, eds., American Secrets: The Politics and Poetics of Secrecy in the Literature and Culture of the United States. Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2011; pp. 61-72.

Rio, David. “ESSAYS- Basques in the International West: An Interview with Frank Bergon” Western American Literature 36.1 (2001): pp. 56-72.  [Available: Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center: PS 271 .W46 and online for UNR-afflilated users, only]

Seaman, Donna. "Jesse's Ghost." Booklist 107.18 (2011): 16. 

Sharp Lookout: Selected Nature Essays of John Burroughs (Reviews) in:

  • Cramer, Michael D. “A Sharp Lookout: selected nature essays” Library Journal  113.3 (1988): 172.
  • Little, Charles E. “A Sharp Lookout: selected nature essays of John Burroughs” Wilderness 51.181 (1988): 59.
  • Scheese, Don. “Nature Writing: A Wilderness of Books” Forest and Conservation History 34.4 (1990): 204-208.

Shoshone Mike (Reviews) in:

  • Glotfelty, Cheryll. “Frank Bergon, Shoshone Mike” Nevada Historical Society Quarterly 38.1 (1995): 48.
  • Kaganoff, Penny. “Shoshone Mike” Publishers Weekly 236.4 (1989): 216.
  • Kirkus Reviews 55 (1987): 1254.
  • KITTREDGE, William "The Last Massacre." New York Times Book Review (1988): 19. 
  • Los Angeles Times Nov 22, 1987 p. 9.
  • Michaud, Charles, and Janet Fletcher. "Shoshone Mike (Book)." Library Journal 112.16 (1987): 106. 
  • New Yorker 64.4 (1988): 115.
  • Rio, D. “Challenging Conventional Recreations of the Western Past: Frank Bergon’s Shoshone Mike” International Fiction Review 34.1 (2007): 69-78. 
  • Steinberg, Sybil. “Shoshone Mike” Publishers Weekly 232 (1987): 96.
  • Village Voice Literary Supplement Dec 1987, p5.
  • Western American Literature 23 (1988): 250.

Stephen Crane’s Artistry (Reviews) in:

  • American Literature (1976): 396.
  • CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries (1976): 513.
  • Colvert, James B. “Stephen Crane’s Artistry by Frank Bergon” American Literature 48.3 (1976): 396-397.
  • Ditsky, John. “Stephen Crane’s Artistry by Frank Bergon” Notre Dame English Journal 10.1 (1976): 38-39. 
  • Hudspeth, Robert N. "Stephen Crane's Artistry (Book Review)." English Language Notes 14.3 (1977): 224.
  • Library Journal 101 (1976): 528.
  • Solomon, Eric. “Stephen Crane’s Artistry by Frank Bergon” Studies in the Novel 8.4 (1996): 185-186.
  • Thatcher, Mary E. "Stephen Crane's Artistry (Book Review)." LJ: Library Journal 101.3 (1976): 529.

The Temptations of St. Ed & Brother S. (Reviews) in:

  • "Fiction." New Yorker 70.1 (1994): 119.
  • Hartigan, Francis X. “Frank Bergon, The Temptations of St. Ed and Brother S.” Nevada Historical Society Quarterly37.2 (1994): 152.
  • Kirkus Reviews 61 (1993): 1086.
  • Lemon, Lee. “Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie; The Temptations of St. Ed & Brother S. by Frank Bergon; Water Witches by Chris Bohjalian; Bone Game and Wolfsong by Louis Owens; Jasmine Nights by S.P. Somtow” Prairie Schooner 70.1 (1996): 185-186.
  • Norris, Kathleen. "Book Reviews: Fiction." Library Journal 118.16 (1993): 125.
  • Sandlin, Tim. "UNIVERSITY PRESSES; Seeking Sainthood." New York Times Book Review (1993): 46.
  • Shostak, Elizabeth. "University Press Sampler: Fiction." Wilson Library Bulletin 68.8 (1994): 106.
  • Steinberg, Sybil S. "Forecasts: Fiction." Publishers Weekly 240.35 (1993): 74. 
  • Western American Literature 29 (1995): 352.
  • Western American Literature 35 (2001): 436.

“The Western Writings of Stephen Crane” Library Journal 104 (1979): 951.

Wild Game (Reviews) in:

  • Hemesath, James B. "Book Reviews: Fiction." Library Journal 120.6 (1995): 122.
  • Kirkus Reviews 63 (1995): 247.
  • Morris, Gregory L. “Wild Game by Frank Bergon” Prairie Schooner 71.2 (1997): 176-177.
  • The New Yorker August 14, 1995. 71.24.
  • Publishers Weekly 242.10 (1995) 59.
  • Steinberg, Sybil S. "Forecasts: Fiction." Publishers Weekly 242.10 (1995): 59.
  • Western American Literature 30 (1995): 306.
  • Western American Literature 35 (2001): 437.
  • Western Literature Association - List of Contemporary Western Fiction [Available: University Archives: AC 0519]

The Wilderness Reader (Reviews) in:

  • Booklist 1981, p663.
  • "Environment/Conservation." New York Review Of Books 41.17 (1994): 37.
  • Force, Ron. "The Wilderness Reader (Book Review)." Library Journal 105.18 (1980): 2208.
  • Kliatt 1981 p28.
  • Siehl, George H. “The Wilderness reader” Library Journal 106 (1981): 942.

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