Hart Wegner is a professor emeritus of German, Comparative Literature, and Film Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He was educated first at Elisabet Schule—founded 200 years before Columbus—in the Silesian capital Breslau. At age 15, he began work in a coal mine in the Ruhr District of Germany. It was an ironic twist of fate, that Wegner next graduated from the Combat Intelligence School of the U. S. Army. Under the G. I. Bill, he studied philosophy and history at the University of Vienna. Back in America he received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Utah and his Ph. D. from Harvard University.
Wegner has received numerous grants and awards, such as inclusion in the Pushcart Prize and Best American Short Stories. He was the first foreign-born writer elected to the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. He won the Charles Vanda Award for Creativity in its first year and the Regents Award for creativity in its second year. He also received the William Morris Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 1998 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from Shenandoah University, Virginia. In 2013 he received the Umhoefer Prize for Achievements in the Humanities.
Naturally, he has written on the teaching of film, but also on John Gardner, V. S. Naipaul, Bruce Chatwin, Bert Brecht, Vittorio de Sica, Jean Renoir, Virgil, Goethe, Otto Preminger, Douglas Sirk, John Ford, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, and others. He recreated the original screenplay of Josef von Sternberg’s Blue Angel (Der blaue Engel, Harcourt Brace) and published Houses of Ivory, a first collection of his short stories (Soho Press, distributed by Farrar, Strauss, Giroux). Houses of Ivory was adapted by the Library of Congress for its Talking Book Program for the Blind and recorded by the Capital American Foundation for the Blind. Off Paradise, his second collection of short stories was published in 2001. The End of the Word was first published in translation in 2006
Hart Wegner began teaching film history in 1970 and he founded Film Studies at UNLV in 1990. From 1970 to 1983, Wegner taught graduate film/comparative literature courses for teachers at the University of California, Berkeley, classes that were previously instructed by Alain Renoir. Over the years, he hosted three film-related television series. He was instrumental in bringing all films and related material from the Howard Hughes estate to UNLV in 1996. In 2016, one of Hughes’ early films Front Page (1931) was restored with material from UNLV and Wegner was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his efforts in film preservation.
Wegner’s various short stories, articles and poems were published in the U.S. and abroad. In 2019, Beti, a unique collection of the work of four writers was published in Albanian translation. It contained two stories each by Joyce Carol Oates, Nobel laureate Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, and Hart Wegner.