John Steinbeck, Writer: A Biography

John Steinbeck, Writer: A Biography

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by Jackson J. Benson
     
 

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Drawing on John Steinbeck's papers and photographs, and scores of interviews, Jackson J. Benson explores the influences that contributed to Steinbeck's archetypal sense of American culture and his controversial concerns. An in-depth study of the shy, private individual behind many American classics.

Overview

Drawing on John Steinbeck's papers and photographs, and scores of interviews, Jackson J. Benson explores the influences that contributed to Steinbeck's archetypal sense of American culture and his controversial concerns. An in-depth study of the shy, private individual behind many American classics.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140144178
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/28/1990
Pages:
1184
Sales rank:
286,749
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 2.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Jackson J. Benson teaches American Literature at San Diego State University. His biography, The True Adventures of John Steinbeck, Writer, won the PEN USA West award for nonfiction. He lives in La Mesa, California.

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John Steinbeck, Writer: A Biography 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read a few Steinbeck biographies and this one is my favorite. There is a ton of information in this brick of a book, and it took me a year to get through it (I read slow). Benson does a great job covering Steinbeck's childhood, his years at Stanford, his lousy jobs, his apprenticeship as a writer, and his perseverance and eventual publication (which still left him in dire financial straits). The second half of the biography, where John moves to NYC, shows a different side of the man as he ventures away from his native California and obtains literary success. He does more traveling, marries for a second time, and contemplates writing his "big book" (East of Eden). My favorite part of the book was its references to Steinbeck's writing habits. He was a very solitary man who was obsessive about writing everyday (his friends were often puzzled about why he was so selfish with his time). Also, he strove for simplicity in his stories (there was no showboating in the man or his work) and he tried to craft voice through a simple, parsed-down style. This biography is very big, and the reader may get caught up in a different issue, storyline, or period of John's life. What facinated me, however, was John's writing habits and how he fought off doubt, depression, and writer's block. This biography was loaded with lots of information about the writing life (it's as good, if not better, than the Paris Review interviews). Steinbeck is my favorite writer and if it wasn't for him I probably wouldn't write fiction. I enjoy reading about him, almost as much as I enjoy reading his books. Also recommended: "Jenna's Flaw" by Lee Tasey
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read a few Steinbeck biographies and this one is my favorite. There is a ton of information in this brick of a book, and it took me a year to get through it (I read slow). Benson does a great job covering Steinbeck's childhood, his years at Stanford, his lousy jobs, his apprenticeship as a writer, and his perseverance and eventual publication (which still left him in dire financial straits). The second half of the biography, where John moves to NYC, shows a different side of the man as he ventures away from his native California and obtains literary success. He does more traveling, marries for a second time, and contemplates writing his 'big book' (East of Eden). My favorite part of the book was its references to Steinbeck's writing habits. He was a very solitary man who was obsessive about writing everyday (his friends were often puzzled about why he was so selfish with his time). Also, he strove for simplicity in his stories (there was no showboating in the man or his work) and he tried to craft voice through a simple, parsed-down style. This biography is very big, and the reader may get caught up in a different issue, storyline, or period of John's life. What facinated me, however, was John's writing habits and how he fought off doubt, depression, and writer's block. This biography was loaded with lots of information about the writing life (it's as good, if not better, than the Paris Review interviews). Steinbeck is my favorite writer and if it wasn't for him I probably wouldn't write fiction. I enjoy reading about him, almost as much as I enjoy reading his books. Check out Jay Parini's bio on Steinbeck, too.