The Portable Steinbeck: Revised Edition

Overview

He wrote about poor people struggling to survive and about dispossessed people grappling for a piece of land they could call their own. He wrote about inarticulate men groping to express truths ?locked in wordlessness.? He wrote about America?the land and the people?as though it were one living organism, and he did so more eloquently than anyone since Walt Whitman. In an extraordinarily prolific career that lasted from 1929 to the 1960s, John Steinbeck created stories and characters that, in the words of Pascal ...

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Overview

He wrote about poor people struggling to survive and about dispossessed people grappling for a piece of land they could call their own. He wrote about inarticulate men groping to express truths “locked in wordlessness.” He wrote about America—the land and the people—as though it were one living organism, and he did so more eloquently than anyone since Walt Whitman. In an extraordinarily prolific career that lasted from 1929 to the 1960s, John Steinbeck created stories and characters that, in the words of Pascal Covici, Jr., this volume’s editor, combine “the gusto of Homer … along with the thoughtfulness of Emerson.”

The Portable Steinbeck is a grand sampling of this writer’s most important works. Here are the complete novels Of Mice and Men and The Red Pony together with self-contained excerpts from The Long Valley, Tortilla Flat, In Dubious Battle (celebrated as “America’s best strike novel”), The Grapes of Wrath, his epic of the Okie migration of the Great Depression, Cannery Row, East of Eden, Travels with Charley and other books; two previously uncollected short stories; and the 1962 Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech. The result is a collection that overflows with Steinbeck’s prodigal richness of language, humor that is by turns broad and deadpan sly, and empathy for even the most flawed and suffering of his characters.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140150025
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/28/1976
  • Series: Portable Library Series
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 736
  • Product dimensions: 5.04 (w) x 7.88 (h) x 1.37 (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

Chapter titles and titles of short excerpts are the editor's, not the author's

Introduction by Pascal Covici, Jr.
Biographical and Bibliographical Notes

From The Long Valley
Flight The Snake The Harness The Chrysanthemums

From The Pastures of Heaven
Tularecito Molly Morgan Pat Humbert's

From Tortilla Flat
Danny Pilon The Pirate The Treasure Hunt Tortillas and Beans

From In Dubious Battle
A Future We Can't Foresee

Of Mice and Men
The Complete Novel
The Red Pony
The Gift The Great Mountains The Promise The Leader of the People

From The Long Valley
Breakfast

From The Grapes of Wrath
The Turtle
"The Last Clear Definite Function of Man"
Migrant People Life and Death Breakfast and Work Ma and Tom The Flood

From Sea of Cortez
"Is" Thinking and "Living Into"
The Pearl of La Paz Parable of Laziness Differences
"It Might Be So"

From "About Ed Ricketts"
"Knowing Ed Ricketts..."
"Speculative Metaphysics"

From Cannery Row
Frog Hunt

From East of Eden
Adam and His Sons Choice and Responsibility Technology and a Technocrat Timshel

Two Uncollected Stories
The Affair at 7, rue de M—-
How Mr. Hogan Robbed a Bank From Travels with Charley in Search of America
People Texan Ostentation Southern Troubles Last Leg

The Language of Awareness
From East of Eden Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

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