John Steinbeck

John Ernst Steinbeck (February 27, 1902December 20, 1968) was one of the most famous American novelists of the 20th century. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1962, though his popularity with readers was never matched by that of the literary critics.

The Salinas, California area, including the Salinas Valley, Monterey, and parts of the nearby San Joaquin Valley, acted as a setting for many of his stories. Because of his feeling for local color, the area is now sometimes called "Steinbeck Country".

After dropping out of Stanford University and an unsuccessful attempt to write in a mythological vein (Cup of Gold), Steinbeck found his stride in writing California novels and Dust Bowl fiction, set among common people in the Great Depression. His body of work covers a wide range of interests: marine biology, jazz, politics, philosophy, history, and myth.

Steinbeck wrote in the naturalist/realist style, often about poor, working-class people. Two of his works written in the late 1930s are his most famous.

East of Eden is Steinbeck's most ambitious work, in which he turns his attention from social injustice to human psychology, in a Salinas Valley saga loosely patterned on the Garden of Eden story.

The Pearl (1947), another novella tells the story about a poor diver named Kino who finds the largest pearl anyone has ever seen. His dream for a better life for his family leads to greed, obsession and ultimately, tragedy.

Steinbeck received the Nobel prize for literature in 1962 for his “realistic and imaginative writing, combining as it does sympathetic humour and keen social perception.”

The day after Steinbeck's death in New York City, reviewer Charles Poore wrote in the New York Times: "John Steinbeck's first great book was his last great book. But Good Lord, what a book that was and is: The Grapes of Wrath." Poore noted a "preachiness" in Steinbeck's work, "as if half his literary inheritance came from the best of Mark Twain—and the other half from the worst of Cotton Mather." But he asserted that "Steinbeck didn't need the Nobel Prize—the Nobel judges needed him." Poore concluded: "His place in [U. S.] literature is secure. And it lives on in the works of innumerable writers who learned from him how to present the forgotten man unforgettably."



Steinbeck was born to John and Olive Steinbeck in Salinas, California.

He fathered two sons.



To symbolize himself, Steinbeck used the stamp of a Pigasus, a flying pig, and the phrase Ad Astra Per Alia Porci (To the stars on wings of pigs.)

In recognition of Steinbeck's work with marine biologist Ed Ricketts, a sea slug species, Eubranchus steinbecki, was named after him in 1987.

External links



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