Carol and John Steinbeck: Portrait of a Marriage

Overview


Carol Henning Steinbeck, writer John Steinbeck’s first wife, was his creative anchor, the inspiration for his great work of the 1930s, culminating in The Grapes of Wrath. Meeting at Lake Tahoe in 1928, their attachment was immediate, their personalities meshing in creative synergy. Carol was unconventional, artistic, and compelling. In the formative years of Steinbeck’s career, living in San Francisco, Pacific Grove, Los Gatos, and Monterey, their Modernist circle included Ed Ricketts, Joseph Campbell, and ...
See more details below
Hardcover (1st Edition)
$24.41
BN.com price
(Save 30%)$34.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (11) from $12.84   
  • New (6) from $21.39   
  • Used (5) from $12.84   
Sending request ...

Overview


Carol Henning Steinbeck, writer John Steinbeck’s first wife, was his creative anchor, the inspiration for his great work of the 1930s, culminating in The Grapes of Wrath. Meeting at Lake Tahoe in 1928, their attachment was immediate, their personalities meshing in creative synergy. Carol was unconventional, artistic, and compelling. In the formative years of Steinbeck’s career, living in San Francisco, Pacific Grove, Los Gatos, and Monterey, their Modernist circle included Ed Ricketts, Joseph Campbell, and Lincoln Steffens. In many ways Carol’s story is all too familiar: a creative and intelligent woman subsumes her own life and work into that of her husband. Together, they brought forth one of the enduring novels of the 20th century. 
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/16/2013
As portrayed by San Jose State University English professor and Steinbeck expert Shillinglaw (A Journey into Steinbeck's California), John Steinbeck's first wife, Carol Henning Steinbeck, was witty, gifted, and fiercely practical. In addition, she loved the limelight and was adept at grand gesture. Her husband, though driven, tended to be moody and self-absorbed. Carol, according to this impressive biography, was also the driving force behind John's political conscience, and assisted him with The Grapes of Wrath ("To Carol who willed it," the dedication reads in part). But the wealth and fame brought by the novel's success also brought disappointment, estrangement, and divorce. "In another era," Shillinglaw writes with eloquence and grace, " might have run a small company, shaped something larger than John into a force for good but she could not or would not imagine great things for herself." In later life, Carol Steinbeck took offence at comparisons to Zelda Fitzgerald, but like Zelda, she has been blessed with a terrific biographer. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

"Shillinglaw contends the Pulitzer Prize–winning Grapes of Wrath is their 'shared creation.' She argues that Carol was a much larger influence on the novelist’s life and work than has been previously acknowledged. In this lively, absorbing biography, she describes John’s and Carol’s families, the impact of friends and travel, and the creative process that culminated in John’s writing. Carol left few written records or letters, thus her life is portrayed here from previously unavailable scrapbooks, photographs, and poetry. . . . Recommended for Steinbeck enthusiasts as well as readers interested in 20th-century American novelists." Library Journal, Nov. 13, 2013

"Impressive . . . Shillinglaw writes with eloquence and grace. . . . Carol Steinbeck . . . has been blessed with a terrific biographer." Publishers Weekly

"Scholars and fans of John Steinbeck are fortunate to have two fine biographies available—Jackson Benson’s (1990) and Jay Parini’s (1995). . . .  And now another indispensable source can be placed beside these classics, Susan Shillinglaw’s Carol and John Steinbeck: Portrait of a Marriage published by the University of Nevada Press." -- Tom Barden, The Steinbeck Review, Fall 2013

"Nobody knows more or writes better about the life of Steinbeck than Susan Shillinglaw . . . Her superb scholarship and elegant style are equally evident in Carol and John Steinbeck: Portrait of a Marriage, the biography of Steinbeck?s marriage to Carol Henning, a Jazz Age rebel with a Great Depression conscience. As Shillinglaw observes, John and Carol were no Scott and Zelda. But their dramatic story book reads like a novel -- unfortunately, one with a similarly unhappy ending." William Ray, Steinbeck Now

“A fascinating story that needs to be made known widely . . . Not just the story of Carol and her relationship to John, but a new and revealing look at Steinbeck himself. So much is new here, and the manuscript pushes so deep into the lives of the Steinbecks, that it might well become the primary biography of that period.” --Jackson Benson, author of John Steinbeck, Writer: A Biography

"Shillinglaw's primary research makes this book impressive, and her writing is wonderfully clear and effective. A book that will appeal both to sophisticated scholars and the general public. I loved this book!" Melody Graulich, editor of Western American Literature

"Fascinating as it lays open the background of two intriguing personalities" New York Journal of Books

"Shillinglaw -- resident scholar at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas and professor of English at San Jose State -- draws a compelling portrait of this intelligent modern woman." San Jose Mercury News

"The Grapes of Wrath grabs the reader with a singular energy that makes it easy to miss the dedication: 'To CAROL who willed this book.' The Carol in caps is Carol Steinbeck, who not only picked the title, but also rode herd on the manuscript, the research and the hard years of creation in a rare kind of artistic synergy. . . . . In Carol and John Steinbeck: Portrait of a Marriage, Susan Shillinglaw fleshes out the book’s dedication and gives Carol Henning Steinbeck her full due. This strong-willed, opinionated, forceful, sharp-witted woman was more than just a supportive wife, more than a repressed Zelda Fitzgerald: 'Her story is, in effect, his. His greatest triumph, hers,' Shillinglaw argues." Michael S. Gant, SantaCruz.com

"As biographer Susan Shillinglaw reminds us in her insightful, important, and necessary new work, there was a time when the man who wrote The Grapes of Wrath was a mere struggling writer; an acknowledged talent, yes, but always on the edge of failure with an uncertain future. Thus we have Carol and John Steinbeck: Portrait of a Marriage. And in this new book, Shillinglaw makes a powerful case for the idea that Steinbeck’s first wife had everything to do with his ability to persevere, to create a body of work that drew notice to his burgeoning talent, and to carry on despite all the pressures (fiscal, psychological, and otherwise) that plague serious writers attempting to emerge. . . . This wonderful new biography offers plenty of echoes of Steinbeck, but its real value is in restoring to memory the voice, style, and persona of Carol Henning Steinbeck." M. J. Moore in Neworld Review, vol. 7 no. 48

"A combination of biography, history, psychology and literary observation, this reads, too, like a novel. Be assured that you will want to read again the Steinbeck that you remember as well as his work that you missed. You will wish you had known Carol Henning, but reading this, you will possibly consider her now a friend." Phil Bowhay, Monterey County Herald
 

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874179309
  • Publisher: University of Nevada Press
  • Publication date: 10/8/2013
  • Series: Western Literature Series Series
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 451,569
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Susan Shillinglaw, professor of English at San Jose State University, directed the Center for Steinbeck Studies there from 1987 to 2005. Her published works include A Journey Into Steinbeck’s California and introductions to The Portable Steinbeck and other Penguin Classic editions. She is currently scholar in residence at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas and lives in Pacific Grove, CA. 
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)