Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
John Earnest Steinbeck (February 27, 1902 – December 20, 1968) was one of the most famous American novelists of the 20th century. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1962, though his popularity with readers never was matched by that of the literary critics.
He was born to John and Olive Steinbeck in Salinas, California. The Salinas area, including the Salinas Valley, Monterey, and parts of the nearby San Joaquin Valley, acted as a setting for many of his stories. Because of his feeling for local color, the area is now sometimes called "Steinbeck Country".
After dropping out of Stanford University followed by an unsuccessful attempt to write in a mythological vein (Cup of Gold), Steinbeck found his stride in writing California novels and Dust Bowl fiction, set among common people in the Great Depression. He had a wide range of interests: marine biology, jazz, politics, philosophy, history, and myth. For many he was the voice of Great Depression.
Steinbeck wrote in the naturalist/realist style, often about poor, working-class people. Two of his works written in the late 1930s are most famous. The Grapes of Wrath, a long novel, tells the story of the Joads, a poor family from Oklahoma and their journey to and subsequent struggles in California. Of Mice and Men is a tragedy in the form of a novella about two migrant farm workers.
East of Eden is Steinbeck's most ambitious work, in which he turns his attention from social injustice to human psychology, in a Salinas Valley saga loosely patterned on the Garden of Eden story. Steinbeck used the stamp of a Pigus and the phrase Ad Astra Per Alia Porci (To the stars on wings of pigs.)
John Steinbeck had two sons. John Steinbeck IV was a journalist who received an Emmy Award for his reporting during the Vietnam War. However, he was also heavily involved in drug trafficking and the consumption of narcotics. He was once arrested and charged with "maintaining a public nuisance" after having been found with 20 pounds of cannabis in his apartment. He died February 7, 1991 after complications resulting from back surgery. The Other Side of Eden is his posthumous autobiography. Steinbeck's other son, Thom Steinbeck , is a fiction writer who has published a collection of stories, Down to a Sunless Sea.
John Steinbeck received the Nobel prize for literature in 1962 for his “realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception.” He died in New York. A Steinbeck Museum now exists in Salinas.
Charles Poore, in an appraisal published in the New York Times the day after Steinbeck's death, said "John Steinbeck's first great book was his last great book. But Good Lord, what a book that was and is: The Grapes of Wrath." He noted a "preachiness" in Steinbeck's work, "as if half his literary inheritance came from the best of Mark Twain—and the other half from the worst of Cotton Mather." But he asserted that "Steinbeck didn't need the Nobel Prize—the Nobel judges needed him." Poore concluded: "His place in [U. S.] literature is secure. And it lives on in the works of innumerable writers who learned from him how to present the forgotten man unforgettably."
- Cup of Gold: A Life of Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer, With Occasional Reference to History 1929 ISBN 014018743X
- The Pastures of Heaven 1932
- The Red Pony 1933
- To a God Unknown 1933
- Tortilla Flat 1935
- In Dubious Battle 1936 The title is a reference to John Milton's "Paradise Lost".
- Of Mice and Men 1937 The title is a reference to the Robert Burns poem "To a Mouse ".
- The Long Valley 1938
- The Grapes of Wrath 1939
- Forgotten Village 1941
- 1941 with Edward F. Ricketts.
- The Moon Is Down 1942 The title is a reference to William Shakespeare's play "Macbeth"
- Cannery Row 1945
- The Pearl 1947
- The Wayward Bus 1947
- A Russian Journal 1948 Robert Capa (Photographer)
- Log from the Sea of Cortez 1951
- East of Eden 1952
- Sweet Thursday 1954
- The Short Reign of Pippin IV 1957
- Once There Was A War 1958
- The Winter of Our Discontent 1961 The title is a reference to the William Shakespeare play "King Richard the Third ".
- Travels With Charley: In Search of America 1962 (a semi-documentary work about his late-life car trip, with his poodle Charley, around the United States.)
- America and Americans 1966
- Viva Zapata! the Original Screenplay 1975
- The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights 1976
- [newspaper articles, ]
- Jay Parini (1995), John Steinbeck: A Biography, Henry Holt & Co.
- "Writer in the American Grain," Charles Poore, New York Times December 21, 1968 p. 31
\"The Other Side of Eden"] the life of John Steinbeck IV and Nancy Stienbeck
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