Date of Award

Spring 1971

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Languages & Literature

First Advisor

John Semmens

Second Advisor

Joseph Ward

Third Advisor

Rev. Thomas Flynn

Abstract

I became aware of Vardis Fisher when I was very young, probably no more than five years old. My father read Fisher’s syndicated newspaper column and I remember that he usually discussed it with my mother. Fisher remained in my thoughts as I passed through grade school; I was proud of him since he was famous and chose to live in our area. He was, to me, a claim to uniqueness for southern Idaho, one that distinguished our rural area. Hemingway served the same purpose, as did our potatoes, the Basque people, and our main street, which is the widest in the world. Each time Fisher published a book I noticed the reviews in the papers and was reassured that he would remind everyone of the existence of southern Idaho. In college I have acquired a special interest in American writers and taken two semesters of American Literature, but Fisher was not mentioned. I read many of the critics and suggested readings; still Fisher was never mentioned and I began to wonder why. This project, then, has been an attempt to review Fisher’s life, the bulk of his work, and present the response of both critics and the public to them. Except in a few instances I will not consider Fisher’s works fcy comparison with other American authors, primarily because it would make my thesis too lengthy. I think such a comparison would be valuable, though, and should follow the work I have done, but could not precede it. In preparing this presentation I found that not much has been written about Fisher. My research has included reading nearly all of the available material concerning Fisher and his works, and as a result the selected bibliography is almost complete. I am especially indebted to Joseph Flora's Vardis Fisher and Ronald Taber's work "Vardis Fisher: March 31, 1895 - July 9, 1968" in Idaho Yesterday's, The Quarterly Journal of the Idaho Historical Society. Mrs. Opal Fisher was very helpful in giving direction to my thesis research and in sharing with me her views of Fisher's works. I am especially grateful to her for the encouragement she gave when I became discouraged at the lack of resource material.

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