"I need this wild life, this freedom."

(Pearl) Zane Grey 1872-1939 American novelist. Born in Zanesville, Ohio, Grey graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1896 with a degree in Dentistry. He practised in New York City from 1898 to 1904, during which time he began to write fiction. His first novel, a romance entitled Betty Zane, was privately published by him in 1903 but received little public attention. In 1907 his wife convinced him to make his first trip to Arizona, in the company of C. J. 'Buffalo' Jones, a retired buffalo hunter. The journey proved to be the turning point in his career. He began writing Western novels in the tradition of Owen Wister, and developed the conventions of the Western into a formula with enormous popular appeal.

He wrote 60 books, which sold over 15 million copies in his lifetime, making him the single most popular author of the post-World War I era in America. Over 100 Western films were based on his stories. In novels such as Riders of the Purple Sage (1912), To the Last Man (1922), Nevada (1928), Wild Horse Mesa (1928) and Code of the West (1934) he presents the West as a moral landscape against which his protaganists struggle, and by which they are either destroyed or redeemed, according to their response to its violent code. 


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