Frank Bergon

Frank Bergon is a critically acclaimed Nevada novelist. In 1993, the Western Writers of America made Bergon a finalist for the best novel of the West in recognition of his work, The Temptations of St. Ed and Brother S. He was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame in 1998.

Bergon was born in 1943 in Ely, Nevada, but moved to the San Joaquin Valley, California, at a young age. Bergon's maternal grandparents came to America from the Basque Country around the turn of the twentieth century. His parental great-grandparents emigrated from the Barn region of southern France.

He received his BA in English at Boston College, attended Stanford University as a Wallace Stegner Fellow, and completed his PhD in English and American literature at Harvard University. Bergon is a professor in the English department at Vassar College, New York. He teaches senior composition and Native American literature, along with courses in the American Culture Program and environmental studies. He has also directed the American Culture Program for several years.

Bergon's fiction includes Shoshone Mike (1987), a remarkably well-documented novel that recreates the last Indian battle that took place in Nevada in 1911, in the age of the automobile. The Temptations of St. Ed and Brother S (1993) mirrors the conflict between spiritual energy and nuclear energy by recreating the tension provoked in Nevada since the 1980s by the federal government's proposal for a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Wild Game (1995), frequently termed an "eco-thriller," is based on the true story of Claude Dallas, a poacher who killed two game wardens. This outstanding literary work illustrates the complexity that marks the contemporary American West and the still-latent burden of Old West myths. These three novels primarily take place in Nevada. They convey a reflection of Bergons Basque-American and Western American identity and his environmental engagement.

As a literary critic, Bergon wrote Stephen Crane's Artistry (1975). His collection, Looking Far West: The Search for the American West in History, Myth, and Literature (1978), edited in collaboration with Zeese Papanikolas, emerged from the need they felt for an anthology of the fundamental works of western writing. Bergon's The Western Writings of Stephen Crane (1979) continued his critical consideration of the West. Bergon is also the editor of The Wilderness Reader (1980), the Penguin Classics edition of The Journals of Lewis and Clark (1989), and A Sharp Lookout: Selected Nature Essays of John Burroughs (1987), all of which reflect his interest in nature in America.

Geographic Area: 

Article Locations

Further Reading

None at this time.