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The Grapes of Wrath: Text and Criticism

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Overview


John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression follows the western moevement of wone family and a nation in search of work and human dignity. This completely updated Viking Critical Library Edition of The Grapes of Wrath includes the full text of the novel, corrected in 1996, as well as extensive and contextual material including:
  • Essays placing The Grapes of Wrath in social context, including a 1942 essay by Carey McWilliams about migrant workers and ...
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Overview


John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression follows the western moevement of wone family and a nation in search of work and human dignity. This completely updated Viking Critical Library Edition of The Grapes of Wrath includes the full text of the novel, corrected in 1996, as well as extensive and contextual material including:
  • Essays placing The Grapes of Wrath in social context, including a 1942 essay by Carey McWilliams about migrant workers and working conditions and a Martin Schockley piece on the reception of The Grapes of Wrath in Oklahoma
  • Eight new essays by John Ditsky, Nellie Y. McKay, MimiReisel Gladstein, Louis Owens, and others
  • An essay on the background to the composition of The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck's biographer, Jackson J. Benson
  • An introduction by the editor, a chronology, a list of topics for discussion and papers, and a bibliography
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140247756
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/28/1997
  • Series: Viking Critical Library Series
  • Edition description: Text and Criticism Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 736
  • Sales rank: 459,041
  • Product dimensions: 5.17 (w) x 7.83 (h) x 1.63 (d)

Meet the Author

John Steinbeck
Chronicling American dreams destroyed by either injustice or the simple difficulty of the world, John Steinbeck left lasting testaments to the struggles of working people in The Grapes of Wrath and Cannery Row. His refusal to water down his realistic work got some of his books banned – and earned him a Nobel Prize.

Biography

John Ernst Steinbeck, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner, was born in Salinas, California February 27, 1902. His father, John Steinbeck, served as Monterey County Treasurer for many years. His mother, Olive Hamilton, was a former schoolteacher who developed in him a love of literature. Young Steinbeck came to know the Salinas Valley well, working as a hired hand on nearby ranches in Monterey County. In 1919, he graduated from Salinas High School as president of his class and entered Stanford University majoring in English. Stanford did not claim his undivided attention. During this time he attended only sporadically while working at a variety jobs including on with the Big Sur highway project, and one at Spreckels Sugar Company near Salinas.

Steinbeck left Stanford permanently in 1925 to pursue a career in writing in New York City. He was unsuccessful and returned, disappointed, to California the following year. Though his first novel, Cup of Gold, was published in 1929, it attracted little literary attention. Two subsequent novels, The Pastures of Heaven and To A God Unknown, met the same fate.

After moving to the Monterey Peninsula in 1930, Steinbeck and his new wife, Carol Henning, made their home in Pacific Grove. Here, not far from famed Cannery Row, heart of the California sardine industry, Steinbeck found material he would later use for two more works, Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row.

With Tortilla Flat (1935), Steinbeck's career took a decidedly positive turn, receiving the California Commonwealth Club's Gold Medal. He felt encouraged to continue writing, relying on extensive research and personal observation of the human drama for his stories. In 1937, Of Mice and Men was published. Two years later, the novel was produced on Broadway and made into a movie. In 1940, Steinbeck won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for Grapes of Wrath, bringing to public attention the plight of dispossessed farmers.

After Steinbeck and Henning divorced in 1942, he married Gwyndolyn Conger. The couple moved to New York City and had two sons, Thomas and two years later, John. During the war years, Steinbeck served as a war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune. Some of his dispatches reappeared in Once There Was A War. In 1945, Steinbeck published Cannery Row and continued to write prolifically, producing plays, short stories and film scripts. In 1950, he married Elaine Anderson Scott and they remained together until his death.

Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962 "...for his realistic as well as imaginative writings, distinguished by a sympathetic humor and keen social perception.." In his acceptance speech, Steinbeck summarized what he sought to achieve through his works:

"...Literature is as old as speech. It grew out of human need for it and it has not changed except to become more needed. The skalds, the bards, the writers are not separate and exclusive. From the beginning, their functions, their duties, their responsibilities have been decreed by our species...Further more, the writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man's proven capacity of greatness of heart and spirit—gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally flags of hope and emulation. I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature..."

Steinbeck remained a private person, shunning publicity and moving frequently in his search for privacy. He died on December 20, 1968 in New York City, where he and his family made a home. But his final resting place was the valley he had written about with such passion. At his request, his ashes were interred in the Garden of Memories cemetery in Salinas. He is survived by his son, Thomas.

Author biography courtesy of the National Steinbeck Center.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Amnesia Glasscock
      John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. (full name); Amnesia Glasscock
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 27, 1902
    2. Place of Birth:
      Salinas, California
    1. Date of Death:
      December 20, 1968
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, New York

Table of Contents


The Grapes of Wrath Editor's Preface to the Second Edition
Chronology
A Note on the Text
I. The Grapes of Wrath: The Text
Map of the Joads' Journey

II. The Social Context
Frank J. Taylor, California's Grapes of Wrath
Carey McWilliams, California Pastoral
Martin Shockley, The Reception of The Grapes of Wrath in Oklahoma

III. The Creative Context
Jackson J. Benson, The Background to the Composition of The Grapes of Wrath
Robert DeMott, "Working Days and Hours": Steinbeck's Writing of The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck, Suggestion for an Interview with Joseph Henry Jackson

IV. Criticism
Editors' Introduction: The Pattern of Criticism
Frederic I. Carpenter, The Philosophical Joads
Peter Lisca, The Grapes of Wrath as Fiction
Robert J. Griffin and William A. Freedman, Machines and Animals: Pervasive Motifs in The Grapes of Wrath
John R. Reed, The Grapes of Wrath and the Esthetics of Indigence
Patrick W. Shaw, Tom's Other Trip: Psycho-Physical Questing in The Grapes of Wrath
John J. Conder, Steinbeck and Nature's Self: The Grapes of Wrath
Louis Owens, The American Joads
John Ditsky, The Ending of The Grapes of Wrath: A Further Commentary
Nellie Y. McKay, From "Happy [?]-Wife-and-Motherdom": The Portrayal of Ma Joad in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath
Mimi Reisel Gladstein, The Grapes of Wrath: Steinbeck and the Eternal Immigrant

Topics for Discussion and Papers
Bibliography

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2003

    Life is periods of wrath, (whos)

    Depression, land erosion contribute to the migration of thousends of hearty hungry destitude peoples.The gold rush and the mexican migration are past and present persuits, (to eat).John Stienbeck, captures the utter essence of those cought up in the tragic circumstances. That leads to the uprooting and relocation, to face hate, fear, loneliness, only for the most basic of basic's food and respect.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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