Owen Wister

(3053 words)
  • Jefferson Slagle (Brigham Young University )

Owen Wister is known to most readers only as the author of The Virginian, and had he written only this he would merit the attention of literary critics. The novel sold 100,000 copies in three months, six printings in the first six weeks after its publication, and sixteen printings that year (Bloodworth 45). It was adapted for the stage by Wister and Kirke La Shelle in 1904, became the subject of five films and a television series of the same title, and served as the model for later western protagonists and plots well into the twentieth century. Loren Estleman argues that the novel was a watershed moment for the western:

the western novel as it has come to be recognized sprang full-grown from the imagination …
Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Slagle, Jefferson. "Owen Wister". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 May 2009
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=4774, accessed 27 September 2016.]

Articles on Wister's works

  1. Lin McLean
  2. The Virginian