John Steinbeck

(27 February 1902 – 20 December 1968)

Biography of John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck poet

John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was an American writer. He is widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939) and East of Eden (1952) and the novella Of Mice and Men (1937). As the author of twenty-seven books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and five collections of short stories, Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.

Major Works

In Dubious Battle

In 1936 Steinbeck published the first of what came to be known as his Dustbowl trilogy, which included Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath. This first novel tells the story of a fruit pickers' strike in California which is both aided and damaged by the help of "the Party," generally taken to be the Communist Party, although this is never spelled out in the book.

Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men is a tragedy that was written in the form of a play in 1937. The story is about two traveling ranch workers, George and Lennie, trying to work up enough money to buy their own farm/ranch. As it is set in 1930's America, it provides an insight into The Great Depression, encompassing themes of racism, loneliness, prejudice against the mentally ill, and the struggle for personal independence. Along with Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, and The Pearl, Of Mice and Men is one of Steinbeck's best known works. It was made into a movie three times, in 1939 starring Burgess Meredith, Lon Chaney Jr., and Betty Field, in 1982 starring Randy Quaid, Robert Blake and Ted Neeley, and in 1992 starring Gary Sinise and John Malkovich.

The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath is set in the Great Depression and describes a family of sharecroppers, the Joads, who were driven from their land due to the dust storms of the Dust Bowl. The title is a reference to the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Some critics found it too sympathetic to the workers' plight and too critical of capitalism but it found quite a large audience in the working class.[citation needed] It won both the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for fiction (novels) and was adapted as a film starring Henry Fonda and directed by John Ford.

East of Eden

Steinbeck deals with the nature of good and evil in this Salinas Valley saga. The story follows two families: the Hamiltons – based on Steinbeck's own maternal ancestry – and the Trasks, reprising stories about the Biblical Adam and his progeny. The book was published in 1952. It was made into a movie in 1955 directed by Elia Kazan starring James Dean.

Travels with Charley

In 1960, Steinbeck bought a pickup truck and had it modified with a custom-built camper top – which was rare at the time – and drove across the United States with his faithful 'blue' standard poodle, Charley. Steinbeck nicknamed his truck Rocinante after Don Quixote's "noble steed". In this sometimes comical, sometimes melancholic book, Steinbeck describes what he sees from Maine to Montana to California, and from there to Texas and Louisiana and back to his home on Long Island. The restored camper truck is on exhibit in the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas.

John Steinbeck's Works:

Bibliography

Cup of Gold (1929)
The Pastures of Heaven (1932)
The Red Pony (1933)
To a God Unknown (1933)
Tortilla Flat (1935)
In Dubious Battle (1936)
Of Mice and Men (1937)
The Long Valley (1938)
The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
The Forgotten Village (1941)
Sea of Cortez: A Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research (1941)
The Moon Is Down (1942)
Bombs Away: The Story of a Bomber Team (1942)
Cannery Row (1945)
The Wayward Bus (1947)
The Pearl (1947)
A Russian Journal (1948)
Burning Bright (1950)
The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951)
East of Eden (1952)
Sweet Thursday (1954)
The Short Reign of Pippin IV: A Fabrication (1957)
Once There Was A War (1958)
The Winter of Our Discontent (1961)
Travels with Charley: In Search of America (1962)
America and Americans (1966)
Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters (1969)
Viva Zapata! (1975)
The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976)
Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath (1989)
Steinbeck in Vietnam: Dispatches from the War (2012), Thomas E. Barden (Editor)

Filmography

1939—Of Mice and Men—directed by Lewis Milestone, featuring Burgess Meredith, Lon Chaney, Jr., and Betty Field
1940—The Grapes of Wrath—directed by John Ford, featuring Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell and John Carradine
1941—The Forgotten Village—directed by Alexander Hammid and Herbert Kline, narrated by Burgess Meredith, music by Hanns Eisler
1942—Tortilla Flat—directed by Victor Fleming, featuring Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr and John Garfield
1943—The Moon is Down—directed by Irving Pichel, featuring Lee J. Cobb and Sir Cedric Hardwicke
1944—Lifeboat—directed by Alfred Hitchcock, featuring Tallulah Bankhead, Hume Cronyn, and John Hodiak
1944—A Medal for Benny—directed by Irving Pichel, featuring Dorothy Lamour and Arturo de Cordova
1947—La Perla (The Pearl, Mexico)—directed by Emilio Fernández, featuring Pedro Armendáriz and María Elena Marqués
1949—The Red Pony—directed by Lewis Milestone, featuring Myrna Loy, Robert Mitchum, and Louis Calhern
1952—Viva Zapata!—directed by Elia Kazan, featuring Marlon Brando, Anthony Quinn and Jean Peters
1955—East of Eden—directed by Elia Kazan, featuring James Dean, Julie Harris, Jo Van Fleet, and Raymond Massey
1957—The Wayward Bus—directed by Victor Vicas, featuring Rick Jason, Jayne Mansfield, and Joan Collins
1961—Flight—featuring Efrain Ramírez and Arnelia Cortez
1962—Ikimize bir dünya (Of Mice and Men, Turkey)
1972—Topoli (Of Mice and Men, Iran)
1982—Cannery Row—directed by David S. Ward, featuring Nick Nolte and Debra Winger
1992—Of Mice and Men—directed by Gary Sinise and starring John Malkovich and Gary Sinise

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