To a God Unknown
  • To a God Unknown
  • To a God Unknown

To a God Unknown

3.8 13
by John Steinbeck
     
 

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Ancient pagan beliefs, the great Greek epics, and the Bible all inform this extraordinary novel by Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck, which occupied him for more than five difficult years. While fulfilling his dead father’s dream of creating a prosperous farm in California, Joseph Wayne comes to believe that a magnificent tree on the farm embodies his

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Overview

Ancient pagan beliefs, the great Greek epics, and the Bible all inform this extraordinary novel by Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck, which occupied him for more than five difficult years. While fulfilling his dead father’s dream of creating a prosperous farm in California, Joseph Wayne comes to believe that a magnificent tree on the farm embodies his father’s spirit. His brothers and their families share in Joseph’s prosperity, and the farm flourishes—until one brother, frightened by Joseph’s pagan belief, kills the tree, allowing disease and famine to descend on the farm. Set in familiar Steinbeck country, To a God Unknown is a mystical tale, exploring one man’s attempt to control the forces of nature and, ultimately, to understand the ways of God and the forces of the unconscious within. This edition features an introduction and notes by Steinbeck scholar Robert DeMott.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140187519
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/28/1995
Series:
Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
176,159
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.71(h) x 0.44(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

John Steinbeck, born in Salinas, California, in 1902, grew up in a fertile agricultural valley, about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast. Both the valley and the coast would serve as settings for some of his best fiction. In 1919 he went to Stanford University, where he intermittently enrolled in literature and writing courses until he left in 1925 without taking a degree. During the next five years he supported himself as a laborer and journalist in New York City, all the time working on his first novel, Cup of Gold (1929).
 
After marriage and a move to Pacific Grove, he published two California books, The Pastures of Heaven (1932) and To a God Unknown (1933), and worked on short stories later collected in The Long Valley (1938). Popular success and financial security came only with Tortilla Flat (1935), stories about Monterey’s paisanos. A ceaseless experimenter throughout his career, Steinbeck changed courses regularly. Three powerful novels of the late 1930s focused on the California laboring class: In Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men (1937), and the book considered by many his finest, The Grapes of Wrath (1939). The Grapes of Wrath won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 1939.
 
Early in the 1940s, Steinbeck became a filmmaker with The Forgotten Village (1941) and a serious student of marine biology with Sea of Cortez (1941). He devoted his services to the war, writing Bombs Away (1942) and the controversial play-novelette The Moon is Down (1942).Cannery Row (1945), The Wayward Bus (1948), another experimental drama, Burning Bright(1950), and The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951) preceded publication of the monumental East of Eden (1952), an ambitious saga of the Salinas Valley and his own family’s history.
 
The last decades of his life were spent in New York City and Sag Harbor with his third wife, with whom he traveled widely. Later books include 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), and the posthumously published Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters (1969), Viva Zapata!(1975), The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976), and Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath (1989).
 
Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962, and, in 1964, he was presented with the United States Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Steinbeck died in New York in 1968. Today, more than thirty years after his death, he remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures. 

Robert DeMott, editor, is the Edwin and Ruth Kennedy Distinguished Professor at Ohio State University and author of Steinbeck's Typewriter, an award-winning book of critical essays.

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Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
February 27, 1902
Date of Death:
December 20, 1968
Place of Birth:
Salinas, California
Place of Death:
New York, New York
Education:
Attended Stanford University intermittently between 1919 and 1925
Website:
http://www.steinbeck.org

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To a God Unknown 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story is great, i always read books but one day my father explained to me that there is a 2nd meaning to story one that is visible to many and when u understand the 2nd meaning of this book it's just great, nuthing more or less
DunkRyan More than 1 year ago
Steinbeck is my favorite author, and this is definitely a great book. That said, it's one of his weaker ones. It has its share of tragedy and deeper moments, but I felt the overall tone failed to achieve the type of impact this work should have had. The story involves a man and his extended family farming the fickle land in a river valley in central California, a familiar landscape for any reader of Steinbeck's. If you've read and loved other Steinbeck books, as I have, I definitely recommend this book, but don't start here- Of Mice and Men or The Grapes of Wrath is better for that.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Steinbeck at his best. It is very obvious that he is truly one of the great American writers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book shows the bond between man and his land. It is well written and exceptionaly well captured. This book is thought provoking but aswell very tragic. I would recommend it to anyone who wishes to farm or write.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sometimes rambles on without an obvious purpose. Not Stienbecks style.
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