John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck

Overview
John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. (February 27, 1902 – December 20, 1968) was an American writer. He is widely known for the Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath is a novel published in 1939 and written by John Steinbeck, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1940 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962....

(1939) and East of Eden (1952) and the novella Of Mice and Men
Of Mice and Men
Of Mice and Men is a novella written by Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck. Published in 1937, it tells the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers during the Great Depression in California, USA....

(1937). He was an author of twenty-seven books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and five collections of short stories; Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.


John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr.
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Quotations

We are lonesome animals. We spend all our life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say — and to feel — ”Yes, that’s the way it is, or at least that’s the way I feel it. You’re not as alone as you thought.”

“In Awe of Words,” The Exonian, 75th anniversary edition, University of Exeter|Exeter University (1930)

The discipline of the written word punishes both stupidity and dishonesty.

“In Awe of Words,” The Exonian, 75th anniversary edition, Exeter University

I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. It might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.

"...like captured fireflies" (1955); also published in America and Americans and Selected Nonfiction (2003), p. 142

One man was so mad at me that he ended his letter: “Beware. You will never get out of this world alive.”

“The Mail I’ve Seen” Saturday Review (3 August 1956)

Writers are a little below clowns and a little above trained seals.

Quote magazine (18 June 1961)

The profession of book-writing makes horse-racing seem like a solid, stable business.

The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights|The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976), but a statement he is first quoted as having made in Newsweek (24 December 1962)

In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable.

New York Times|New York Times (2 June 1969)

The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true.

New York Times (2 June 1969)
Encyclopedia
John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. (February 27, 1902 – December 20, 1968) was an American writer. He is widely known for the Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath is a novel published in 1939 and written by John Steinbeck, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1940 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962....

(1939) and East of Eden (1952) and the novella Of Mice and Men
Of Mice and Men
Of Mice and Men is a novella written by Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck. Published in 1937, it tells the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers during the Great Depression in California, USA....

(1937). He was an author of twenty-seven books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and five collections of short stories; Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.

Life



John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was born on February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California
Salinas, California
Salinas is the county seat and the largest municipality of Monterey County, California. Salinas is located east-southeast of the mouth of the Salinas River, at an elevation of about 52 feet above sea level. The population was 150,441 at the 2010 census...

. He was of German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 and Irish
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

 descent. Johann Adolf Großsteinbeck, Steinbeck's paternal grandfather, had shortened the family name to Steinbeck when he immigrated to the United States. The family farm in Heiligenhaus
Heiligenhaus
Heiligenhaus is a town in the district of Mettmann, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, in the suburban Rhine-Ruhr area. It lies between Düsseldorf and Essen.The town is twinned with Basildon and Mansfield of the United Kingdom....

, Mettmann
Mettmann (district)
Mettmann is a Kreis in the middle of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring are the Ennepe-Ruhr and thedistrict-free cities Wuppertal, Solingen, Düsseldorf,Duisburg, Mülheim, Essen...

, North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia is the most populous state of Germany, with four of the country's ten largest cities. The state was formed in 1946 as a merger of the northern Rhineland and Westphalia, both formerly part of Prussia. Its capital is Düsseldorf. The state is currently run by a coalition of the...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, is still today named "Großsteinbeck."

His father, John Ernst Steinbeck, served as Monterey County treasurer. John's mother, Olive Hamilton, a former school teacher, shared Steinbeck's passion of reading and writing. The Steinbecks were members of the Episcopal Church
Episcopal Church
An episcopal church has bishops in its organisational structure which is calledEpiscopal polityEpiscopal Church may refer to:Anglican Communion:...

. Steinbeck lived in a small rural town that was essentially a frontier settlement, set amid some of the world's most fertile land. He spent his summers working on nearby ranches and later with migrant workers on Spreckels
Spreckels, California
Spreckels is a census-designated place located in the Salinas Valley of Monterey County, California, United States. Spreckels is located south of Salinas, at an elevation of 62 feet . The population was 673 at the 2010 census, up from 485 at the 2000 census.Spreckels is one of the best-preserved...

 ranch. He became aware of the harsher aspects of migrant life and the darker side of human nature, which supplied him with material expressed in such works as Of Mice and Men. He also explored his surroundings, walking across local forests, fields, and farms.

In 1919, Steinbeck graduated from Salinas High School and attended Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

 intermittently until 1925, eventually leaving without a degree. He travelled to New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 and held odd jobs while pursuing his dream of becoming a writer. When he failed to get his work published, he returned to California and worked for a time in 1928 as a tour guide and caretaker at the fish hatchery in Tahoe City, where he would meet tourist Carol Henning, his future first wife. Steinbeck and Henning were married in January 1930.

For most of the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 and his marriage to Carol, Steinbeck lived in a cottage that was owned by his father in Pacific Grove, California
Pacific Grove, California
Pacific Grove is a coastal city in Monterey County, California, USA, with a population of 15,041 as of the 2010 census, down from 15,522 as of the 2000 census...

, on the Monterey Peninsula
Monterey Peninsula
The Monterey Peninsula is located on the central California coast and comprises the cities of Monterey, Carmel, and Pacific Grove, and unincorporated areas of Monterey County including the resort and community of Pebble Beach.-Monterey:...

 a few blocks from the border of the city of Monterey, California
Monterey, California
The City of Monterey in Monterey County is located on Monterey Bay along the Pacific coast in Central California. Monterey lies at an elevation of 26 feet above sea level. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 27,810. Monterey is of historical importance because it was the capital of...

. The elder Steinbeck supplied him with the lodging for free, with paper for his manuscripts, and critical loans beginning at the end of 1928 which allowed Steinbeck to give up a punishing warehouse job in San Francisco, and focus on his craft.

After the publication of his Monterey novel Tortilla Flat
Tortilla Flat
Tortilla Flat is an early John Steinbeck novel set in Monterey, California. The novel was the author's first clear critical and commercial success....

in 1935, his first clear novelistic success, the Steinbecks emerged from relative poverty and built a summer ranch-home in Los Gatos. In 1940, Steinbeck went on a voyage around the Gulf of California
Gulf of California
The Gulf of California is a body of water that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland...

 with his influential friend Ed Ricketts
Ed Ricketts
Edward Flanders Robb Ricketts commonly known as Ed Ricketts, was an American marine biologist, ecologist, and philosopher...

, to collect biological specimens. The Log from the Sea of Cortez
The Log from the Sea of Cortez
The Log from the Sea of Cortez is an English language book written by American author John Steinbeck and published in 1951. It details a six-week marine specimen-collecting boat expedition he made in 1940 at various sites in the Gulf of California , with his friend, the marine biologist Ed Ricketts...

describes his experiences. Although Carol accompanied Steinbeck on the trip, their marriage was beginning to suffer by this time, and would effectively end in 1941, even as Steinbeck worked on the manuscript for the book.


In 1942, Steinbeck's divorce from Carol became final and later that month he married Gwyndolyn "Gwyn" Conger. With his second wife Steinbeck had his only children – Thomas ("Thom") Myles Steinbeck
Thomas Steinbeck
Thomas Myles Steinbeck is a writer and the eldest son of Nobel Laureate John Steinbeck. Steinbeck has sold numerous screenplays over the life of his career. In 2002, Ballantine Publishing Group, a division of Random House published his first book of short stories entitled, "Down To a Soundless Sea"...

 born 1944 and John Steinbeck IV
John Steinbeck IV
John Steinbeck IV , was an American journalist and author. He was the second child of the Nobel Prize-winning author, John Steinbeck. In 1965, he was drafted into the United States Army and served in Vietnam...

 (1946–1991).

In 1943, Steinbeck served as a World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 war correspondent
War correspondent
A war correspondent is a journalist who covers stories firsthand from a war zone. In the 19th century they were also called Special Correspondents.-Methods:...

. Steinbeck accompanied the commando raids of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Douglas Elton Fairbanks, Jr. KBE was an American actor and a highly decorated naval officer of World War II.-Early life:...

's Beach Jumpers
Beach Jumpers
Beach Jumpers were U.S. Navy special warfare units, specializing in deception and psychological warfare.Beach Jumper volunteers were recruited for "prolonged, hazardous, distant duty for a secret project." Their identities and activities were very highly classified, since the slightest leak of...

 program, which launched small-unit diversion operations against German-held islands in the Mediterranean
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

. In 1944, wounded by a close munitions explosion in North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, the war-weary author resigned from his work and returned home.

In 1947, Steinbeck made the first of many trips to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, this one with renowned photographer Robert Capa
Robert Capa
Robert Capa was a Hungarian combat photographer and photojournalist who covered five different wars: the Spanish Civil War, the Second Sino-Japanese War, World War II across Europe, the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and the First Indochina War...

. They visited Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

, Tbilisi
Tbilisi
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

, Batumi
Batumi
Batumi is a seaside city on the Black Sea coast and capital of Adjara, an autonomous republic in southwest Georgia. Sometimes considered Georgia's second capital, with a population of 121,806 , Batumi serves as an important port and a commercial center. It is situated in a subtropical zone, rich in...

 and Stalingrad, becoming some of the first Westerners to visit many parts of the USSR since the communist revolution. Steinbeck's book about their experiences, A Russian Journal, was illustrated with Capa's photos. In 1948, the year the book was published, Steinbeck was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

In May, 1948 Steinbeck travelled to California on an emergency trip to be with his closest friend Ed Ricketts, who had been seriously injured when his car was struck by a train. Ricketts died hours before Steinbeck arrived. On returning home from this devastating trip, Steinbeck was confronted by Gwyn, who told him she wanted a divorce for various reasons related to estrangement. She could not be dissuaded, and the divorce became final in August of that same year. Steinbeck spent the year after Ricketts' death in deep depression, by his own account.

In June, 1949, Steinbeck met stage-manager Elaine Scott at a restaurant in Carmel, California. Steinbeck and Scott eventually began a relationship and in December, 1950, Steinbeck and Scott married, within a week of the finalizing of Scott's own divorce from actor Zachary Scott
Zachary Scott
Zachary Scott was an American actor, most notable for his roles as villains and "mystery men".-Life and career:...

. This third marriage for Steinbeck lasted until his death in 1968.

In 1966, Steinbeck travelled to Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

 to visit the site of Mount Hope
Clorinda S. Minor
Clorinda S. Minor was an American woman from Philadelphia who became influenced by William Miller. When his prophecy failed to materialize she decided to set sail for Palestine. She first traveled to Palestine in May 1849 and came to support the experimental farm set up by the Finn family at Artas...

, a farm community established in Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 by his grandfather, whose brother, Friedrich Grosssteinbeck, was murdered by Arab marauders in 1858.

John Steinbeck died in New York City on December 20, 1968 of heart disease
Heart disease
Heart disease, cardiac disease or cardiopathy is an umbrella term for a variety of diseases affecting the heart. , it is the leading cause of death in the United States, England, Canada and Wales, accounting for 25.4% of the total deaths in the United States.-Types:-Coronary heart disease:Coronary...

 and congestive heart failure
Congestive heart failure
Heart failure often called congestive heart failure is generally defined as the inability of the heart to supply sufficient blood flow to meet the needs of the body. Heart failure can cause a number of symptoms including shortness of breath, leg swelling, and exercise intolerance. The condition...

. He was 66, and had been a life-long smoker. An autopsy showed nearly complete occlusion
Stenosis
A stenosis is an abnormal narrowing in a blood vessel or other tubular organ or structure.It is also sometimes called a stricture ....

 of the main coronary arteries
Aorta
The aorta is the largest artery in the body, originating from the left ventricle of the heart and extending down to the abdomen, where it branches off into two smaller arteries...

.

In accordance with his wishes, his body was cremated
Cremation
Cremation is the process of reducing bodies to basic chemical compounds such as gasses and bone fragments. This is accomplished through high-temperature burning, vaporization and oxidation....

, and an urn containing his ashes was eventually interred (March 4, 1969) at the Hamilton family gravesite at Garden of Memories Memorial Park in Salinas, with those of his parents and maternal grandparents. His third wife, Elaine, was buried in the plot in 2004. He had earlier written to his doctor that he felt deeply "in his flesh" that he would not survive his physical death, and that the biological end of his life was the final end to it.

Literary career


Steinbeck's first novel, Cup of Gold
Cup of Gold: A Life of Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer, With Occasional Reference to History
Cup of Gold: A life of Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer, with Occasional Reference to History was John Steinbeck's first novel, a work of historical fiction based loosely on the life and death of privateer Henry Morgan...

, published in 1929, is based on the life and death of privateer
Privateer
A privateer is a private person or ship authorized by a government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping during wartime. Privateering was a way of mobilizing armed ships and sailors without having to spend public money or commit naval officers...

 Henry Morgan
Henry Morgan
Admiral Sir Henry Morgan was an Admiral of the Royal Navy, a privateer, and a pirate who made a name for himself during activities in the Caribbean, primarily raiding Spanish settlements...

. It centers on Morgan's assault and sacking of the city of Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

, sometimes referred to as the 'Cup of Gold', and on the woman, fairer than the sun, who was said to be found there.

After Cup of Gold, between 1931 and 1933 Steinbeck produced three shorter works. The Pastures of Heaven
The Pastures of Heaven
The Pastures of Heaven is a short story cycle by John Steinbeck, first published in 1932, consisting of twelve interconnected stories about a valley in Monterey, California, which was discovered by a Spanish corporal while chasing runaway Indian slaves...

, published in 1932, comprised twelve interconnected stories about a valley near Monterey, that was discovered by a Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 corporal
Corporal
Corporal is a rank in use in some form by most militaries and by some police forces or other uniformed organizations. It is usually equivalent to NATO Rank Code OR-4....

 while chasing runaway American Indian
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 slaves. In 1933 Steinbeck published The Red Pony
The Red Pony
The Red Pony is an episodic novella written by American writer John Steinbeck in 1933. The first three chapters were published in magazines from 1933–1936, and the full book was published in 1937 by Covici Friede. The stories in the book are tales of a boy named Jody Tiflin. The book has four...

, a 100-page, four-chapter story weaving in memories of Steinbeck's childhood. To a God Unknown
To a God Unknown
To a God Unknown is a novel by John Steinbeck, first published in 1933. The book was Steinbeck's second novel , the title taken from the book of Acts in the Bible...

follows the life of a homesteader and his family in California, depicting a character with a primal and pagan worship of the land he works.

Steinbeck achieved his first critical success with the novel Tortilla Flat
Tortilla Flat
Tortilla Flat is an early John Steinbeck novel set in Monterey, California. The novel was the author's first clear critical and commercial success....

(1935), which won the California Commonwealth Club
Commonwealth Club of California
The Commonwealth Club of California is a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization based in Northern California. Founded in 1903, it is the oldest and largest public affairs forum in the United States...

's Gold Medal. The book portrays the adventures of a group of classless and usually homeless young men in Monterey after World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, just before U.S. prohibition
Prohibition in the United States
Prohibition in the United States was a national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, in place from 1920 to 1933. The ban was mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and the Volstead Act set down the rules for enforcing the ban, as well as defining which...

. The characters, who are portrayed in ironic comparison to mythic knights on a quest, reject nearly all the standard mores of American society in enjoyment of a dissolute life centred around wine, lust, camaraderie and petty theft. The book was made into the 1942 film Tortilla Flat
Tortilla Flat (film)
Tortilla Flat is a 1942 film with Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr, John Garfield, Frank Morgan, Akim Tamiroff, and Sheldon Leonard based on the novel by John Steinbeck. It was directed by Victor Fleming.- Plot :...

, starring Spencer Tracy
Spencer Tracy
Spencer Bonaventure Tracy was an American theatrical and film actor, who appeared in 75 films from 1930 to 1967. Tracy was one of the major stars of Hollywood's Golden Age, ranking among the top ten box office draws for almost every year from 1938 to 1951...

, Hedy Lamarr
Hedy Lamarr
Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian-American actress celebrated for her great beauty who was a major contract star of MGM's "Golden Age".Lamarr also co-invented – with composer George Antheil – an early technique for spread spectrum communications and frequency hopping, necessary to wireless...

 and John Garfield
John Garfield
John Garfield was an American actor adept at playing brooding, rebellious, working-class character roles. He grew up in poverty in Depression-era New York City and in the early 1930s became an important member of the Group Theater. In 1937 he moved to Hollywood, eventually becoming one of Warner...

, a friend of Steinbeck's.

Steinbeck began to write a series of "California novels" and Dust Bowl
Dust Bowl
The Dust Bowl, or the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms causing major ecological and agricultural damage to American and Canadian prairie lands from 1930 to 1936...

 fiction, set among common people during the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

. These included In Dubious Battle
In Dubious Battle
In Dubious Battle is a novel by John Steinbeck, written in 1936. The central figure of the story is an activist for "the Party" who is organizing a major strike by fruit pickers, seeking thus to attract followers to his cause.Prior to publication, Steinbeck wrote in a letter:"This is the...

, Of Mice and Men
Of Mice and Men
Of Mice and Men is a novella written by Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck. Published in 1937, it tells the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers during the Great Depression in California, USA....

and The Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath is a novel published in 1939 and written by John Steinbeck, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1940 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962....

. Of Mice and Men, about the dreams of a pair of migrant laborers working the California soil, was critically acclaimed.

The stage adaptation of Of Mice and Men was a hit, starring Broderick Crawford
Broderick Crawford
Broderick Crawford was an Academy Award-winning American stage, film, radio and TV actor, often cast in tough-guy roles and best known for his starring role in the television series "Highway Patrol."-Early life:...

 as the mentally child-like but physically powerful itinerant farmhand Lennie, and Wallace Ford
Wallace Ford
Wallace Ford was an English film and television actor who, with his friendly appearance and stocky build later in life, appeared in a number of film westerns and B-movies....

 as Lennie's companion, "George". However, Steinbeck refused to travel from his home in California to attend any performance of the play during its New York run, telling director George S. Kaufman
George S. Kaufman
George Simon Kaufman was an American playwright, theatre director and producer, humorist, and drama critic. In addition to comedies and political satire, he wrote several musicals, notably for the Marx Brothers...

 that the play as it existed in his own mind was "perfect" and that anything presented on stage would only be a disappointment. Steinbeck would write two more stage plays (The Moon Is Down
The Moon Is Down
The Moon Is Down, a novel by John Steinbeck fashioned for adaption for the theatre and for which Steinbeck received the Norwegian Haakon VII Cross of freedom, was published by Viking Press in March 1942...

and Burning Bright
Burning Bright
Burning Bright is a 1950 novella by John Steinbeck written as an experiment with producing a play in novel format. Rather than providing only the dialogue and brief stage directions as would be expected in a play, Steinbeck fleshes out the scenes with details of both the characters and the...

).

Of Mice and Men was rapidly adapted into a 1939 Hollywood film
Of Mice and Men (1939 film)
Of Mice and Men is a 1939 film based on the novella of the same title by American author John Steinbeck. It stars Burgess Meredith, Betty Field, Lon Chaney, Jr., Charles Bickford, Roman Bohnen, Bob Steele and Noah Beery, Jr...

, in which Lon Chaney, Jr.
Lon Chaney, Jr.
Lon Chaney, Jr. , born Creighton Tull Chaney, was an American character actor. He was best known for his roles in monster movies and as the son of famous silent film actor, Lon Chaney...

 (who had portrayed the role in the Los Angeles production of the play) was cast as Lennie and Burgess Meredith
Burgess Meredith
Oliver Burgess Meredith , known professionally as Burgess Meredith, was an American actor in theatre, film, and television, who also worked as a director...

 as "George." Steinbeck followed this wave of success with The Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath is a novel published in 1939 and written by John Steinbeck, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1940 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962....

(1939), based on newspaper articles he had written in San Francisco. The novel would be considered by many to be his finest work. It won the Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

 in 1940, even as it was made into a notable film directed by John Ford
John Ford
John Ford was an American film director. He was famous for both his westerns such as Stagecoach, The Searchers, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and adaptations of such classic 20th-century American novels as The Grapes of Wrath...

, starring Henry Fonda
Henry Fonda
Henry Jaynes Fonda was an American film and stage actor.Fonda made his mark early as a Broadway actor. He also appeared in 1938 in plays performed in White Plains, New York, with Joan Tompkins...

 as Tom Joad, who was nominated for an Academy Award for the part.

The success of the novel was not free of controversy. Steinbeck's New Deal
New Deal
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

 political views, negative portrayal of aspects of capitalism, and sympathy for the plight of workers, led to a backlash against the author, especially close to home. Claiming the book was both obscene and misrepresented conditions in the county, the Kern County Board of Supervisors banned the book from the county's publicly funded schools and libraries in August 1939. This ban lasted until January 1941.

Of the controversy, Steinbeck wrote, "The vilification of me out here from the large landowners and bankers is pretty bad. The latest is a rumor started by them that the Okie
Okie
Okie is a term dating from as early as 1907, originally denoting a resident or native of Oklahoma. It is derived from the name of the state, similar to Texan or Tex for someone from Texas, or Arkie or Arkansawyer for a native of Arkansas....

s hate me and have threatened to kill me for lying about them. I'm frightened at the rolling might of this damned thing. It is completely out of hand; I mean a kind of hysteria about the book is growing that is not healthy."

The film versions of The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men (by two different movie studios) were in production simultaneously, allowing Steinbeck to spend a full day on the set of The Grapes of Wrath and the next day on the set of Of Mice and Men.

Ed Ricketts


In the 1930s and 1940s, Ed Ricketts
Ed Ricketts
Edward Flanders Robb Ricketts commonly known as Ed Ricketts, was an American marine biologist, ecologist, and philosopher...

 strongly influenced Steinbeck's writing. Steinbeck frequently took small trips with Ricketts along the California coast to give Steinbeck time off from his writing and to collect biological specimens, which Ricketts sold for a living. Their joint book about a collecting expedition to the Gulf of California
Gulf of California
The Gulf of California is a body of water that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland...

 in 1940, which was part travelogue and part natural history, published just as the U.S. entered World War II, never found an audience and did not sell well. However, in 1951, Steinbeck republished the narrative portion of the book as The Log from the Sea of Cortez
The Log from the Sea of Cortez
The Log from the Sea of Cortez is an English language book written by American author John Steinbeck and published in 1951. It details a six-week marine specimen-collecting boat expedition he made in 1940 at various sites in the Gulf of California , with his friend, the marine biologist Ed Ricketts...

, under his name only (though Ricketts had written some of it). This work remains in print today.

Ricketts was Steinbeck's model for the character of "Doc" in Cannery Row
Cannery Row (novel)
Cannery Row is an English language novel by American author John Steinbeck. It was published in 1945. A film version was released in 1982. A stage version was produced in 1995....

(1945) and Sweet Thursday
Sweet Thursday
Sweet Thursday is a 1954 novel by John Steinbeck. It is a sequel to Cannery Row and set in the years after the end of World War II. According to the author, "Sweet Thursday" is the day after Lousy Wednesday and the day before Waiting Friday....

(1954), "Friend Ed" in Burning Bright
Burning Bright
Burning Bright is a 1950 novella by John Steinbeck written as an experiment with producing a play in novel format. Rather than providing only the dialogue and brief stage directions as would be expected in a play, Steinbeck fleshes out the scenes with details of both the characters and the...

, and characters in In Dubious Battle
In Dubious Battle
In Dubious Battle is a novel by John Steinbeck, written in 1936. The central figure of the story is an activist for "the Party" who is organizing a major strike by fruit pickers, seeking thus to attract followers to his cause.Prior to publication, Steinbeck wrote in a letter:"This is the...

(1936) and The Grapes of Wrath (1939). Ecological themes recur in Steinbeck's novels of the period.

Steinbeck's close relations with Ricketts ended in 1941 when Steinbeck moved away from Pacific Grove and divorced from his wife Carol. Ricketts' biographer Eric Enno Tamm notes that, except for East of Eden (1952), Steinbeck's writing declined after Ricketts' untimely death in 1948.

World War II


His novel The Moon is Down
The Moon Is Down
The Moon Is Down, a novel by John Steinbeck fashioned for adaption for the theatre and for which Steinbeck received the Norwegian Haakon VII Cross of freedom, was published by Viking Press in March 1942...

(1942), about the Socrates
Socrates
Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary ...

-inspired spirit of resistance in an occupied village in Northern Europe
Northern Europe
Northern Europe is the northern part or region of Europe. Northern Europe typically refers to the seven countries in the northern part of the European subcontinent which includes Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Finland and Sweden...

, was made into a film almost immediately. It was presumed that the unnamed country of the novel was Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 and the occupiers the Nazis, and in 1945 Steinbeck received the Haakon VII Cross of freedom for his literary contributions to the Norwegian
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 resistance movement.

In 1943, Steinbeck served as a World War II war correspondent
War correspondent
A war correspondent is a journalist who covers stories firsthand from a war zone. In the 19th century they were also called Special Correspondents.-Methods:...

 for the New York Herald Tribune
New York Herald Tribune
The New York Herald Tribune was a daily newspaper created in 1924 when the New York Tribune acquired the New York Herald.Other predecessors, which had earlier merged into the New York Tribune, included the original The New Yorker newsweekly , and the Whig Party's Log Cabin.The paper was home to...

and worked with the Office of Strategic Services
Office of Strategic Services
The Office of Strategic Services was a United States intelligence agency formed during World War II. It was the wartime intelligence agency, and it was a predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency...

 (predecessor of the CIA). It was at that time he became friends with Will Lang, Jr. of Time/Life magazine. During the war, Steinbeck accompanied the commando raids of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Douglas Elton Fairbanks, Jr. KBE was an American actor and a highly decorated naval officer of World War II.-Early life:...

's Beach Jumpers
Beach Jumpers
Beach Jumpers were U.S. Navy special warfare units, specializing in deception and psychological warfare.Beach Jumper volunteers were recruited for "prolonged, hazardous, distant duty for a secret project." Their identities and activities were very highly classified, since the slightest leak of...

 program, which launched small-unit diversion operations against German-held islands in the Mediterranean. Some of his writings from this period were incorporated in the documentary Once There Was a War
Once There Was A War
Once There Was a War, published in 1958, is a collection of articles written by John Steinbeck while he was a very special war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune from June to December 1943...

(1958).

Steinbeck returned from the war with a number of wounds from shrapnel
Shrapnel
Shrapnel shells were anti-personnel artillery munitions which carried a large number of individual bullets close to the target and then ejected them to allow them to continue along the shell's trajectory and strike the target individually. They relied almost entirely on the shell's velocity for...

 and some psychological trauma. He treated himself, as ever, by writing. He wrote Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE was a British film director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent films and early talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood...

's Lifeboat
Lifeboat (film)
Lifeboat is an American war film directed by Alfred Hitchcock from a story written by John Steinbeck. The film stars Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Walter Slezak, Mary Anderson, John Hodiak, Henry Hull, Heather Angel, Hume Cronyn and Canada Lee, and is set entirely on a lifeboat.The film is...

(1944), and the film A Medal for Benny
A Medal for Benny
A Medal for Benny is a 1945 American film directed by Irving Pichel. The story was conceived by writer Jack Wagner, who enlisted his longtime friend John Steinbeck to help him put it into script form. The film was released by Paramount Pictures.-Cast:...

(1945) with screenwriter Jack Wagner
Jack Wagner (screenwriter)
Jack Wagner was a U.S. screenwriter. Born in Los Angeles, California, USA, he spent many years living in Mexico before returning to Los Angeles to work for D. W. Griffith on his early films.1...

 about paisanos
Compadre
The compadre relationship between the parents and godparents of a child is an important bond which originates when a child is baptized in Hispanic families...

 from Tortilla Flat
Tortilla Flat
Tortilla Flat is an early John Steinbeck novel set in Monterey, California. The novel was the author's first clear critical and commercial success....

going to war. He later requested that his name be removed from the credits of Lifeboat because he believed the final version of the film had racist undertones. In 1944, suffering from homesickness for his Pacific Grove/Monterey life of the 1930s, he also wrote Cannery Row
Cannery Row
Cannery Row is the waterfront street in the New Monterey section of Monterey, California. It is the site of a number of now-defunct sardine canning factories. The last cannery closed in 1973...

(1945) which became so famous that Ocean View Avenue in Monterey, the location of the book, was eventually renamed Cannery Row in 1958.

After the end of the war, he wrote The Pearl
The Pearl (novel)
The Pearl is a novella by American author John Steinbeck, published in 1947.- Analysis :A story based on a Mexican folk tale, The Pearl explores the secrets of man's nature, the darkest depths of evil, and the disastrous effects of stepping out of an established system...

(1947), already knowing it would be filmed. The story first appeared in the December 1945 issue of Woman's Home Companion
Woman's Home Companion
Woman's Home Companion was an American monthly publication, published from 1873 to 1957. It was highly successful, climbing to a circulation peak of more than four million during the 1930s and 1940s....

 magazine as "The Pearl of the World." It was illustrated by John Alan Maxwell
John Alan Maxwell
John Alan Maxwell was an American artist known primarily for his book and magazine illustrations, as well as historical paintings...

. The novel is an imaginative telling of a story which Steinbeck had heard in La Paz in 1940, as related in The Log From the Sea of Cortez, which he described in Chapter 11 as being "so much like a parable that it almost can't be". Steinbeck travelled to Mexico for the filming with Wagner who helped with the script; on this trip he would be inspired by the story of Emiliano Zapata
Emiliano Zapata
Emiliano Zapata Salazar was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution, which broke out in 1910, and which was initially directed against the president Porfirio Díaz. He formed and commanded an important revolutionary force, the Liberation Army of the South, during the Mexican Revolution...

, and subsequently wrote a film script (Viva Zapata!
Viva Zapata!
Viva Zapata! is a 1952 fictional-biographical film directed by Elia Kazan. The screenplay was written by John Steinbeck, using as a guide Edgcomb Pinchon's book, 'Zapata the Unconquerable', a fact that is not credited in the titles of the film...

) directed by Elia Kazan
Elia Kazan
Elia Kazan was an American director and actor, described by the New York Times as "one of the most honored and influential directors in Broadway and Hollywood history". Born in Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, to Greek parents originally from Kayseri in Anatolia, the family emigrated...

 and starring Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando, Jr. was an American movie star and political activist. "Unchallenged as the most important actor in modern American Cinema" according to the St...

 and Anthony Quinn
Anthony Quinn
Antonio Rodolfo Quinn-Oaxaca , more commonly known as Anthony Quinn, was a Mexican American actor, as well as a painter and writer...

.

New York


Steinbeck married for the last time in 1950. Soon after, he began work on East of Eden (1952), which he considered his best work.

In 1952, John Steinbeck appeared as the on-screen narrator of 20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation — also known as 20th Century Fox, or simply 20th or Fox — is one of the six major American film studios...

's film, O. Henry's Full House
O. Henry's Full House
O. Henry's Full House is an anthology film made by 20th Century Fox, consisting of five separate stories by O. Henry. The film was produced by André Hakim and directed by five separate directors from five separate screenplays. The music score was composed by Alfred Newman...

. Although Steinbeck later admitted he was uncomfortable before the camera, he provided interesting introductions to several filmed adaptations of short stories by the legendary writer O. Henry
O. Henry
O. Henry was the pen name of the American writer William Sydney Porter . O. Henry's short stories are well known for their wit, wordplay, warm characterization and clever twist endings.-Early life:...

. About the same time, Steinbeck recorded readings of several of his short stories for Columbia Records
Columbia Records
Columbia Records is an American record label, owned by Japan's Sony Music Entertainment, operating under the Columbia Music Group with Aware Records. It was founded in 1888, evolving from an earlier enterprise, the American Graphophone Company — successor to the Volta Graphophone Company...

; despite some stiffness, the recordings provide a record of Steinbeck's deep, resonant voice.

Following the success of Viva Zapata!, Steinbeck collaborated with Kazan on East of Eden, James Dean
James Dean
James Byron Dean was an American film actor. He is a cultural icon, best embodied in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause , in which he starred as troubled Los Angeles teenager Jim Stark...

's film debut.


Travels with Charley (subtitle: In Search of America) is a travelogue of his 1960 road trip
Road trip
A road trip is any journey taken on roads, regardless of stops en route. Typically, road trips are long distances traveled by automobile.-Pre-automobile road trips:...

 with his poodle
Poodle
The Poodle is a breed of dog. The poodle breed is found officially in toy, miniature, and standard sizes, with many coat colors. Originally bred as a type of water dog, the poodle is highly intelligent and skillful in many dog sports, including agility, obedience, tracking, and even herding...

 Charley. Steinbeck bemoans his lost youth and roots, while dispensing both criticism and praise for America. According to Steinbeck's son Thom, Steinbeck went on the trip because he knew he was dying and wanted to see the country one last time.

Steinbeck's last novel, The Winter of Our Discontent
The Winter of Our Discontent
The Winter of Our Discontent, published in 1961, is John Steinbeck's last novel. The title is a reference to the first two lines of William Shakespeare's Richard III: "Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious summer by this sun [or son] of York," .-Plot introduction:The story revolves...

(1961), examines moral decline in America. The protagonist Ethan grows discontented with his own moral decline and that of those around him. The book is very different in tone from Steinbeck's amoral and ecological stance in earlier works like Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row. It was not a critical success. Many reviewers recognized the importance of the novel but were disappointed that it was not another Grapes of Wrath.

Apparently taken aback not only by the critical reception of this novel, but also the critical outcry when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962, Steinbeck published no more fiction in the next six years before his death.

Nobel Prize


In 1962, Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for literature for his “realistic and imaginative writing, combining as it does sympathetic humor and keen social perception.” On the day of the announcement (Oct. 25) when he was asked by a reporter at a press conference given by his publisher, if he thought he deserved the Nobel, he said: "Frankly, no." In his acceptance speech later in the year in Stockholm, he said:
He also said in his speech, "Man himself has become our greatest hazard and our only hope. So that today, St. John the apostle may well be paraphrased: In the end is the Word, and the Word is Man—and the Word is with Men."

Although modest about his own talent as a writer, Steinbeck talked openly of his own admiration of certain writers. In 1953, he wrote that he considered cartoonist Al Capp
Al Capp
Alfred Gerald Caplin , better known as Al Capp, was an American cartoonist and humorist best known for the satirical comic strip Li'l Abner. He also wrote the comic strips Abbie an' Slats and Long Sam...

, creator of the satirical Li'l Abner
Li'l Abner
Li'l Abner is a satirical American comic strip that appeared in many newspapers in the United States, Canada and Europe, featuring a fictional clan of hillbillies in the impoverished town of Dogpatch, Kentucky. Written and drawn by Al Capp , the strip ran for 43 years, from August 13, 1934 through...

, "possibly the best writer in the world today." At his own first Nobel Prize press conference he was asked his favorite authors and works and replied: "Hemingway's short stories and nearly everything Faulkner wrote."

In September 1964, Steinbeck was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

 by President Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

.

In 1967, at the behest of Newsday
Newsday
Newsday is a daily American newspaper that primarily serves Nassau and Suffolk counties and the New York City borough of Queens on Long Island, although it is sold throughout the New York metropolitan area...

magazine, Steinbeck went to Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

 to report on the war there. Thinking of the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 as a heroic venture, he was considered a hawk
War Hawk
War Hawk is a term originally used to describe members of the Twelfth Congress of the United States who advocated waging war against the British in the War of 1812...

 for his position on that war. His sons both served in Vietnam prior to his death, and Steinbeck visited one son in the battlefield (at one point being allowed to man a machine-gun watch position at night at a firebase, while his son and other members of his platoon slept).

After Steinbeck's death, his incomplete novel based on the King Arthur
King Arthur
King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and...

 legends of Malory and others, The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights
The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights
The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights is John Steinbeck's retelling of the Arthurian legend, based on the Winchester Manuscript text of Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. He began his adaptation in November 1956. Steinbeck had long been a lover of the Arthurian legends...

, was finally published in 1976.

On February 27, 1979, on what would have been his 77th birthday, he was honored by being placed on a U.S. postage stamp.

Legacy


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
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

— and the other half from the worst of Cotton Mather
Cotton Mather
Cotton Mather, FRS was a socially and politically influential New England Puritan minister, prolific author and pamphleteer; he is often remembered for his role in the Salem witch trials...

." But he asserted that "Steinbeck didn't need the Nobel Prize— the Nobel judges needed him."

Many of Steinbeck's works are on required reading lists in American high schools. In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Of Mice and Men is one of the key texts used by the examining body AQA
Assessment and Qualifications Alliance
AQA is an Awarding Body in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It compiles specifications and holds examinations in various subjects at GCSE, AS and A Level and offers vocational qualifications. AQA is a registered charity and independent of the Government...

 for its English Literature
English literature
English literature is the literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; for example, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Joseph Conrad was Polish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Edgar Allan Poe was American, J....

 GCSE. A study by the Center for the Learning and Teaching of Literature in the United States found that Of Mice and Men was one of the ten most frequently read books in public high schools.

At the same time, The Grapes of Wrath has been banned by school boards: In August 1939, Kern County Board of Supervisors banned the book from the county's publicly funded schools and libraries. It was burned in Salinas on two different occasions. In 2003, a school board in Mississippi banned it on the grounds of profanity. According to the American Library Association
American Library Association
The American Library Association is a non-profit organization based in the United States that promotes libraries and library education internationally. It is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 62,000 members....

 Steinbeck was one of the ten most frequently banned authors from 1990 to 2004, with Of Mice and Men ranking sixth out of 100 such books in the United States.

Literary influences


Steinbeck grew up in California's Salinas Valley, a culturally diverse place with a rich migratory and immigrant history. This upbringing imparted a regionalistic flavor to his writing, giving many of his works a distinct sense of place
Sense of place
The term sense of place has been defined and used in many different ways by many different people. To some, it is a characteristic that some geographic places have and some do not, while to others it is a feeling or perception held by people...

.
Salinas, Monterey and parts of the San Joaquin Valley
San Joaquin Valley
The San Joaquin Valley is the area of the Central Valley of California that lies south of the Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta in Stockton...

 were the setting for many of his stories. The area is now sometimes referred to as "Steinbeck Country". Most of his early work dealt with subjects familiar to him from his formative years. An exception was his first novel, Cup of Gold
Cup of Gold: A Life of Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer, With Occasional Reference to History
Cup of Gold: A life of Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer, with Occasional Reference to History was John Steinbeck's first novel, a work of historical fiction based loosely on the life and death of privateer Henry Morgan...

, which concerns the pirate Henry Morgan
Henry Morgan
Admiral Sir Henry Morgan was an Admiral of the Royal Navy, a privateer, and a pirate who made a name for himself during activities in the Caribbean, primarily raiding Spanish settlements...

, whose adventures had captured Steinbeck's imagination as a child.

In his subsequent novels, Steinbeck found a more authentic voice by drawing upon direct memories of his life in California. His childhood friend, Max Wagner
Max Wagner
Max Wagner was a Mexican-born American film actor who specialized in playing small parts such as thugs, gangsters, sailors, henchmen, bodyguards, cab drivers and moving men, appearing in over 300 films in his career, most without receiving screen credit...

, a brother of Jack Wagner and who later became a film actor, served as inspiration for The Red Pony. Later he used real American historical conditions and events in the first half of the 20th century, which he had experienced first-hand as a reporter. Steinbeck often populated his stories with struggling characters; his works examined the lives of the working class and migrant worker
Migrant worker
The term migrant worker has different official meanings and connotations in different parts of the world. The United Nations' definition is broad, including any people working outside of their home country...

s during the Dust Bowl
Dust Bowl
The Dust Bowl, or the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms causing major ecological and agricultural damage to American and Canadian prairie lands from 1930 to 1936...

 and the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

.

His later work reflected his wide range of interests, including marine biology
Marine biology
Marine biology is the scientific study of organisms in the ocean or other marine or brackish bodies of water. Given that in biology many phyla, families and genera have some species that live in the sea and others that live on land, marine biology classifies species based on the environment rather...

, politics, religion, history and mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

. One of his last published works was Travels with Charley, a travelogue
Travel literature
Travel literature is travel writing of literary value. Travel literature typically records the experiences of an author touring a place for the pleasure of travel. An individual work is sometimes called a travelogue or itinerary. Travel literature may be cross-cultural or transnational in focus, or...

 of a road trip
Road trip
A road trip is any journey taken on roads, regardless of stops en route. Typically, road trips are long distances traveled by automobile.-Pre-automobile road trips:...

 he took in 1960 to rediscover America.

Commemoration


Steinbeck's boyhood home, a turreted Victorian
Victorian architecture
The term Victorian architecture refers collectively to several architectural styles employed predominantly during the middle and late 19th century. The period that it indicates may slightly overlap the actual reign, 20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901, of Queen Victoria. This represents the British and...

 building in downtown Salinas, has been preserved and restored by the Valley Guild, a nonprofit organization. Fixed menu lunches are served Monday through Saturday, and the house is open for tours
Tours
Tours is a city in central France, the capital of the Indre-et-Loire department.It is located on the lower reaches of the river Loire, between Orléans and the Atlantic coast. Touraine, the region around Tours, is known for its wines, the alleged perfection of its local spoken French, and for the...

 during the summer on Sunday afternoons.

The National Steinbeck Center
National Steinbeck Center
The National Steinbeck Center is a museum and memorial dedicated to the author John Steinbeck that is located at One Main Street in Salinas, California, the town where Steinbeck grew up....

, two blocks away at 1 Main Street
Main Street
Main Street is the metonym for a generic street name of the primary retail street of a village, town, or small city in many parts of the world...

 is the only museum in the U.S. dedicated to a single author. Dana Gioia (chair of the National Endowment for the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent agency of the United States federal government that offers support and funding for projects exhibiting artistic excellence. It was created by an act of the U.S. Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. Its current...

) told an audience at the center, "This is really the best modern literary shrine in the country, and I've seen them all." Its "Steinbeckiana" includes "Rocinante," the camper-truck in which Steinbeck made the cross-country trip described in "Travels with Charley."

His father's cottage on Eleventh Street in Pacific Grove, where Steinbeck wrote some of his earliest books, also survives.

In Monterey, Ed Ricketts' laboratory
Pacific Biological Laboratories
Pacific Biological Laboratories, abbreviated PBL, was a biological supply house that sold preserved animals and prepared specimen microscope slide, many were of maritime aquatic species, to schools, museums, and research institutions...

 survives (though it is not yet open to the public) and at the corner which Steinbeck describes in Cannery Row
Cannery Row (novel)
Cannery Row is an English language novel by American author John Steinbeck. It was published in 1945. A film version was released in 1982. A stage version was produced in 1995....

, also the store which once belonged to Lee Chong, and the adjacent vacant lot frequented by the hobos of Cannery Row. The site of the Hovden Sardine
Sardine
Sardines, or pilchards, are several types of small, oily fish related to herrings, family Clupeidae. Sardines are named after the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, around which they were once abundant....

 Cannery
next to Doc's laboratory is now occupied by the Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey Bay Aquarium
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is located on the former site of a sardine cannery on Cannery Row of the Pacific Ocean shoreline in Monterey, California. It has an annual attendance of 1.8 million visitors. It holds thousands of plants and animals, representing 623 separate named species on display...

. However, the street that Steinbeck described as "Cannery Row" in the novel, once named Ocean View Avenue, was renamed Cannery Row
Cannery Row
Cannery Row is the waterfront street in the New Monterey section of Monterey, California. It is the site of a number of now-defunct sardine canning factories. The last cannery closed in 1973...

in honor of the novel, in 1958. The town of Monterey has commemorated Steinbeck's work with an avenue of flags depicting characters from Cannery Row, historical plaques, and sculptured busts depicting Steinbeck and Ricketts.

On February 27, 1979 (the 77th anniversary of the writer's birth), the United States Postal Service
United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States...

 issued a stamp featuring Steinbeck, starting the Postal Service’s Literary Arts series honoring American writers.

On December 5, 2007 California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger is an Austrian-American former professional bodybuilder, actor, businessman, investor, and politician. Schwarzenegger served as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 until 2011....

 and First Lady Maria Shriver
Maria Shriver
Maria Owings Shriver is an American journalist and author of six best-selling books. She has received a Peabody Award, and was co-anchor for NBC's Emmy-winning coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympics. As executive producer of The Alzheimer's Project, Shriver earned two Emmy Awards and an Academy of...

 inducted Steinbeck into the California Hall of Fame
California Hall of Fame
Conceived by First Lady Maria Shriver, the California Hall of Fame was established at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts to honor individuals and families who embody California’s innovative spirit and have made their mark on history...

, located at the California Museum for History, Women and the Arts
The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts
The California Museum, formerly The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts – home of the California Hall of Fame – is housed in the State Archives Building in Sacramento, one block from the State Capitol...

. His son, author Thomas Steinbeck
Thomas Steinbeck
Thomas Myles Steinbeck is a writer and the eldest son of Nobel Laureate John Steinbeck. Steinbeck has sold numerous screenplays over the life of his career. In 2002, Ballantine Publishing Group, a division of Random House published his first book of short stories entitled, "Down To a Soundless Sea"...

, accepted the award on his behalf.

Political views



Steinbeck's contacts with leftist authors, journalists, and labor union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

 figures may have influenced his writing and he joined the League of American Writers
League of American Writers
The League of American Writers was an association of American novelists, playwrights, poets, journalists, and literary critics launched by the Communist Party USA in 1935...

, a Communist organization, in 1935. Steinbeck was mentored by radical writers Lincoln Steffens
Lincoln Steffens
-Biography:Steffens was born April 6, 1866, in San Francisco. He grew up in a wealthy family and attended a military academy. He studied in France and Germany after graduating from the University of California....

 and his wife Ella Winter
Ella Winter
Leonore Sophie Winter Steffens Stewart was an Australian-British journalist and activist.Her parents were Freda Lust and Adolph Wertheimer from Nuremberg in Germany, who lived in London, Melbourne, Australia and again in London, when they changed their name to Winter . Their children Rudolph,...

. Through Francis Whitaker
Francis Whitaker
Francis Whitaker was a blacksmith in Carmel, California and, later, an artist-in-residence at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale, CO.He was born in Woburn, Massachusetts and died in Glenwood Springs, Colorado....

, a member of the United States Communist Party’s John Reed Club
John Reed Club
The John Reed Club was an American, semi-national, Marxist club for writers, artists, and intellectuals, named after the American journalist, activist, and poet, John Reed.-Founding:...

 for writers, Steinbeck met with strike organizers from the Cannery and Agricultural Workers' Industrial Union
United Cannery, Agricultural, Packing, and Allied Workers of America
The United Cannery, Agricultural, Packing, and Allied Workers of America was a CIO-affiliated trade union during the late 1930s and 1940s....

.

Steinbeck was a close associate of playwright
Playwright
A playwright, also called a dramatist, is a person who writes plays.The term is not a variant spelling of "playwrite", but something quite distinct: the word wright is an archaic English term for a craftsman or builder...

 Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller
Arthur Asher Miller was an American playwright and essayist. He was a prominent figure in American theatre, writing dramas that include plays such as All My Sons , Death of a Salesman , The Crucible , and A View from the Bridge .Miller was often in the public eye,...

. In June 1959, Steinbeck took a personal and professional risk by standing up for him when Miller refused to name names in the House Un-American Activities Committee
House Un-American Activities Committee
The House Committee on Un-American Activities or House Un-American Activities Committee was an investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives. In 1969, the House changed the committee's name to "House Committee on Internal Security"...

 trials. Steinbeck called the period one of the "strangest and most frightening times a government and people have ever faced."

In 1967, when he was sent to Vietnam to report on the war
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, his sympathetic portrayal of the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 led the New York Post
New York Post
The New York Post is the 13th-oldest newspaper published in the United States and is generally acknowledged as the oldest to have been published continuously as a daily, although – as is the case with most other papers – its publication has been periodically interrupted by labor actions...

to denounce him for betraying his liberal past. Steinbeck's biographer, Jay Parini
Jay Parini
Jay Parini is an American writer and academic. He is known for novels and poetry, biography and criticism.He was born in Pittston, Pennsylvania, and brought up in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Lafayette College in 1970 and was awarded a doctorate by the University of St. Andrews in 1975...

, says Steinbeck's friendship with President Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

 influenced his views on Vietnam. Steinbeck may also have been concerned about the safety of his son serving in Vietnam.

Government harassment


Steinbeck complained publicly about government harassment. Thomas Steinbeck, the author's eldest son, said that J. Edgar Hoover
J. Edgar Hoover
John Edgar Hoover was the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States. Appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation—predecessor to the FBI—in 1924, he was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, where he remained director until his death in 1972...

, director of the FBI at the time, could find no basis for prosecuting Steinbeck and therefore used his power to encourage the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to audit Steinbeck's taxes every single year of his life, just to annoy him. According to Thomas, a true artist is one who "without a thought for self, stands up against the stones of condemnation, and speaks for those who are given no real voice in the halls of justice, or the halls of government. By doing so these people will naturally become the enemies of the political status quo."

In a 1942 letter to United States Attorney General Francis Biddle
Francis Biddle
Francis Beverley Biddle was an American lawyer and judge who was Attorney General of the United States during World War II and who served as the primary American judge during the postwar Nuremberg trials....

, he wrote: "Do you suppose you could ask Edgar
J. Edgar Hoover
John Edgar Hoover was the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States. Appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation—predecessor to the FBI—in 1924, he was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, where he remained director until his death in 1972...

's boys to stop stepping on my heels? They think I am an enemy alien. It is getting tiresome." The FBI denied that Steinbeck was under investigation.

Of Mice and Men



Of Mice and Men is a tragedy that was written in the form of a play in 1937. The story is about two traveling ranch workers, George and Lennie, trying to work up enough money to buy their own farm/ranch. It encompasses themes of racism, loneliness, prejudice against the mentally ill, and the struggle for personal independence. Along with Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, and The Pearl, Of Mice and Men is one of Steinbeck's best known works. It was made into a movie three times, in 1939
Of Mice and Men (1939 film)
Of Mice and Men is a 1939 film based on the novella of the same title by American author John Steinbeck. It stars Burgess Meredith, Betty Field, Lon Chaney, Jr., Charles Bickford, Roman Bohnen, Bob Steele and Noah Beery, Jr...

 starring Burgess Meredith
Burgess Meredith
Oliver Burgess Meredith , known professionally as Burgess Meredith, was an American actor in theatre, film, and television, who also worked as a director...

, Lon Chaney Jr., and Betty Field
Betty Field
Betty Field was an American film and stage actress. Through her father, she was a direct descendant of the Pilgrims John Alden and Priscilla Mullins....

, in 1982 starring Randy Quaid
Randy Quaid
Randall Rudy "Randy" Quaid is an American actor perhaps best known for his role as Cousin Eddie in the National Lampoon's Vacation movies, as well as his numerous supporting roles in films, including his Oscar nominated performance in The Last Detail, Independence Day, Kingpin and Brokeback Mountain...

, Robert Blake
Robert Blake (actor)
Robert Blake is an American actor who starred in the film In Cold Blood and the U.S. television series Baretta. In 2005, he was tried and acquitted for the 2001 murder of his wife, but on November 18, 2005, Blake was found liable in a California civil court for her wrongful death.-Early...

 and Ted Neeley
Ted Neeley
Ted Neeley is a rock and roll drummer, singer, actor, composer, and record producer. He is probably best known for performing the title role in the film Jesus Christ Superstar in 1973....

, and in 1992
Of Mice and Men (1992 film)
Of Mice and Men is a 1992 American film starring John Malkovich and Gary Sinise, directed and produced by Gary Sinise. It is the third movie adaptation of John Steinbeck's 1937 novel of the same name, and was preceded by the 1939 film version and the 1981 television movie.- Plot :George Milton is...

 starring Gary Sinise
Gary Sinise
Gary Alan Sinise is an American actor, film director and musician. During his career, Sinise has won various awards including an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Academy Award. In 1992, Sinise directed, and played the role of George Milton in the successful film adaptation of...

 and John Malkovich
John Malkovich
John Gavin Malkovich is an American actor, producer, director and fashion designer with his label Technobohemian. Over the last 25 years of his career, Malkovich has appeared in more than 70 motion pictures. For his roles in Places in the Heart and In the Line of Fire, he received Academy Award...

.

The Grapes of Wrath



The Grapes of Wrath was written in 1939 and won the Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

 in 1940. The book is set in the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 and describes a family of sharecroppers, the Joads, who were driven from their land due to the dust storms of the Dust Bowl
Dust Bowl
The Dust Bowl, or the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms causing major ecological and agricultural damage to American and Canadian prairie lands from 1930 to 1936...

. The title is a reference to the Battle Hymn of the Republic. The book was unpopular amongst some critics who found it too sympathetic to the workers' plight and too critical of aspects of capitalism; but it found quite a large audience amongst the working class
Working class
Working class is a term used in the social sciences and in ordinary conversation to describe those employed in lower tier jobs , often extending to those in unemployment or otherwise possessing below-average incomes...

. The book was made into a film
The Grapes of Wrath (film)
The Grapes of Wrath is a 1940 drama film directed by John Ford. It was based on John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. The screenplay was written by Nunnally Johnson and the executive producer was Darryl F...

 in 1940 starring Henry Fonda
Henry Fonda
Henry Jaynes Fonda was an American film and stage actor.Fonda made his mark early as a Broadway actor. He also appeared in 1938 in plays performed in White Plains, New York, with Joan Tompkins...

 and directed by John Ford
John Ford
John Ford was an American film director. He was famous for both his westerns such as Stagecoach, The Searchers, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and adaptations of such classic 20th-century American novels as The Grapes of Wrath...

.

East of Eden



Steinbeck deals with the nature of good and evil in this Salinas Valley saga. The story follows two families: the Hamiltons – based on Steinbeck's own maternal ancestry – and the Trasks, reprising stories about the Biblical Adam and his progeny. The book was published in 1952. It was made into a movie in 1955 directed by
Elia Kazan
Elia Kazan
Elia Kazan was an American director and actor, described by the New York Times as "one of the most honored and influential directors in Broadway and Hollywood history". Born in Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, to Greek parents originally from Kayseri in Anatolia, the family emigrated...

 starring James Dean
James Dean
James Byron Dean was an American film actor. He is a cultural icon, best embodied in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause , in which he starred as troubled Los Angeles teenager Jim Stark...

.

In Dubious Battle



In 1936 Steinbeck published the first of what came to be known as his Dustbowl trilogy, which included Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath. This first novel, considered by many to be among Steinbeck's best, tells the story of a fruit pickers' strike in California which is both aided and damaged by the help of "the Party," generally taken to be the Communist Party
Communist party
A political party described as a Communist party includes those that advocate the application of the social principles of communism through a communist form of government...

, although this is never spelled out in the book.

Travels With Charley



In 1960, Steinbeck bought a pickup truck and had it modified with a custom-built camper top
Camper
Camper can be one of several things:* a person who engages in camping.** in online games, a player who stays in one area of the game world, see camping ....

 – which was rare at the time – and drove across the United States with his faithful 'blue' standard poodle, Charley. Steinbeck nicknamed his truck Rocinante
Rocinante
Rocinante is the name of Don Quixote's horse, in the novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes.-Etymology: in Spanish means work-horse or low-quality horse , but also illiterate or rough man. There are similar words in French , Portuguese and Italian . The etymology is uncertain. The name is,...

after Don Quixote's "noble steed". In this sometimes comical, sometimes melancholic book, Steinbeck describes what he sees from Maine
Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

 to Montana
Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

 to California, and from there to Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 and Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

 and back to his home on Long Island
Long Island
Long Island is an island located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which are boroughs of New York City , and two of which are mainly suburban...

. The restored camper truck is on exhibit in the National Steinbeck Center
National Steinbeck Center
The National Steinbeck Center is a museum and memorial dedicated to the author John Steinbeck that is located at One Main Street in Salinas, California, the town where Steinbeck grew up....

 in Salinas.

Filmography

  • 1939—Of Mice and Men
    Of Mice and Men (1939 film)
    Of Mice and Men is a 1939 film based on the novella of the same title by American author John Steinbeck. It stars Burgess Meredith, Betty Field, Lon Chaney, Jr., Charles Bickford, Roman Bohnen, Bob Steele and Noah Beery, Jr...

    —directed by Lewis Milestone, featuring Burgess Meredith
    Burgess Meredith
    Oliver Burgess Meredith , known professionally as Burgess Meredith, was an American actor in theatre, film, and television, who also worked as a director...

    , Lon Chaney, Jr.
    Lon Chaney, Jr.
    Lon Chaney, Jr. , born Creighton Tull Chaney, was an American character actor. He was best known for his roles in monster movies and as the son of famous silent film actor, Lon Chaney...

    , and Betty Field
    Betty Field
    Betty Field was an American film and stage actress. Through her father, she was a direct descendant of the Pilgrims John Alden and Priscilla Mullins....

  • 1940—The Grapes of Wrath
    The Grapes of Wrath (film)
    The Grapes of Wrath is a 1940 drama film directed by John Ford. It was based on John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. The screenplay was written by Nunnally Johnson and the executive producer was Darryl F...

    —directed by John Ford
    John Ford
    John Ford was an American film director. He was famous for both his westerns such as Stagecoach, The Searchers, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and adaptations of such classic 20th-century American novels as The Grapes of Wrath...

    , featuring Henry Fonda
    Henry Fonda
    Henry Jaynes Fonda was an American film and stage actor.Fonda made his mark early as a Broadway actor. He also appeared in 1938 in plays performed in White Plains, New York, with Joan Tompkins...

    , Jane Darwell and John Carradine
    John Carradine
    John Carradine was an American actor, best known for his roles in horror films and Westerns as well as Shakespearean theater. A member of Cecil B DeMille's stock company and later John Ford's company, he was one of the most prolific character actors in Hollywood history...

  • 1941—The Forgotten Village
    The Forgotten Village
    The Forgotten Village is an American documentary film -- some sources call it an ethnofiction film -- directed by Herbert Kline and Alexander Hammid, written by John Steinbeck, and narrated by Burgess Meredith...

    —directed by Alexander Hammid and Herbert Kline, narrated by Burgess Meredith, music by Hanns Eisler
    Hanns Eisler
    Hanns Eisler was an Austrian composer.-Family background:Eisler was born in Leipzig where his Jewish father, Rudolf Eisler, was a professor of philosophy...

  • 1942—Tortilla Flat
    Tortilla Flat (film)
    Tortilla Flat is a 1942 film with Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr, John Garfield, Frank Morgan, Akim Tamiroff, and Sheldon Leonard based on the novel by John Steinbeck. It was directed by Victor Fleming.- Plot :...

    —directed by Victor Fleming
    Victor Fleming
    Victor Lonzo Fleming was an American film director, cinematographer, and producer. His most popular films were The Wizard of Oz , and Gone with the Wind , for which he won an Academy Award for Best Director.-Life and career:Fleming was born in La Canada, California, the son of Elizabeth Evaleen ...

    , featuring Spencer Tracy
    Spencer Tracy
    Spencer Bonaventure Tracy was an American theatrical and film actor, who appeared in 75 films from 1930 to 1967. Tracy was one of the major stars of Hollywood's Golden Age, ranking among the top ten box office draws for almost every year from 1938 to 1951...

    , Hedy Lamarr
    Hedy Lamarr
    Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian-American actress celebrated for her great beauty who was a major contract star of MGM's "Golden Age".Lamarr also co-invented – with composer George Antheil – an early technique for spread spectrum communications and frequency hopping, necessary to wireless...

     and John Garfield
    John Garfield
    John Garfield was an American actor adept at playing brooding, rebellious, working-class character roles. He grew up in poverty in Depression-era New York City and in the early 1930s became an important member of the Group Theater. In 1937 he moved to Hollywood, eventually becoming one of Warner...

  • 1943—The Moon is Down—directed by Irving Pichel
    Irving Pichel
    Irving Pichel was an American actor and film director. He married Violette Wilson, daughter of Jackson Stitt Wilson, a Methodist minister and Socialist mayor of Berkeley, California. Her sister was actress Viola Barry...

    , featuring Lee J. Cobb
    Lee J. Cobb
    Lee J. Cobb was an American actor. He is best known for his performance in 12 Angry Men his Academy Award-nominated performance in On the Waterfront and one of his last films, The Exorcist...

     and Sir Cedric Hardwicke
    Cedric Hardwicke
    Sir Cedric Webster Hardwicke was a noted English stage and film actor whose career spanned nearly fifty years...

  • 1944—Lifeboat
    Lifeboat (film)
    Lifeboat is an American war film directed by Alfred Hitchcock from a story written by John Steinbeck. The film stars Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Walter Slezak, Mary Anderson, John Hodiak, Henry Hull, Heather Angel, Hume Cronyn and Canada Lee, and is set entirely on a lifeboat.The film is...

    —directed by Alfred Hitchcock
    Alfred Hitchcock
    Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE was a British film director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent films and early talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood...

    , featuring Tallulah Bankhead
    Tallulah Bankhead
    Tallulah Brockman Bankhead was an award-winning American actress of the stage and screen, talk-show host, and bonne vivante...

    , Hume Cronyn
    Hume Cronyn
    Hume Blake Cronyn, OC was a Canadian actor of stage and screen, who enjoyed a long career, often appearing professionally alongside his second wife, Jessica Tandy.-Early life:...

    , and John Hodiak
    John Hodiak
    John Hodiak was an American actor who worked in radio and film.-Early life:He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Walter Hodiak and Anna Pogorzelec . He was of Ukrainian and Polish descent...

  • 1944—A Medal for Benny
    A Medal for Benny
    A Medal for Benny is a 1945 American film directed by Irving Pichel. The story was conceived by writer Jack Wagner, who enlisted his longtime friend John Steinbeck to help him put it into script form. The film was released by Paramount Pictures.-Cast:...

    —directed by Irving Pichel, featuring Dorothy Lamour
    Dorothy Lamour
    Dorothy Lamour was an American film actress. She is best remembered for appearing in the Road to... movies, a series of successful comedies starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope .-Early life:Lamour was born Mary Leta Dorothy Slaton in New Orleans, Louisiana, the daughter of Carmen Louise Dorothy...

     and Arturo de Cordova
  • 1947—La Perla
    La perla
    La perla is a 1947 Mexican film. The story is based on the novella The Pearl by John Steinbeck, who also co-wrote the screenplay for the movie....

    (The Pearl, Mexico)—directed by Emilio Fernández
    Emilio Fernández
    Emilio "El Indio" Fernández was an actor, screenwriter and director of the cinema of Mexico. He is best known for his work as director of the film Maria Candelaria which won the Grand Prix at the 1946 Cannes Film Festival.-Early life:Fernández was born in Mineral del Hondo, Coahuila...

    , featuring Pedro Armendáriz
    Pedro Armendáriz
    Pedro Armendáriz was a Mexican actor of the cinema of Mexico and Hollywood.-Early life:Born Pedro Gregorio Armendáriz Hastings in Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico to Pedro Armendáriz García-Conde and Adela Hastings . He was also the cousin of actress Gloria Marín...

     and María Elena Marqués
    María Elena Marqués
    María Elena Marqués was a Mexican actress who was a star of Golden Age of Mexican cinema in the 1940s and 1950s.In her best-known role, Marqués starred in the 1947 film La perla ; she played the wife of a fisherman who finds the ill-fated pearl. The film was based on John Steinbeck's book The Pearl...

  • 1949—The Red Pony
    The Red Pony
    The Red Pony is an episodic novella written by American writer John Steinbeck in 1933. The first three chapters were published in magazines from 1933–1936, and the full book was published in 1937 by Covici Friede. The stories in the book are tales of a boy named Jody Tiflin. The book has four...

    —directed by Lewis Milestone, featuring Myrna Loy
    Myrna Loy
    Myrna Loy was an American actress. Trained as a dancer, she devoted herself fully to an acting career following a few minor roles in silent films. Originally typecast in exotic roles, often as a vamp or a woman of Asian descent, her career prospects improved following her portrayal of Nora Charles...

    , Robert Mitchum
    Robert Mitchum
    Robert Charles Durman Mitchum was an American film actor, author, composer and singer and is #23 on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest male American screen legends of all time...

    , and Louis Calhern
    Louis Calhern
    Louis Calhern was an American stage and screen actor.- Early life :Louis Calhern was born Carl Henry Vogt on February 19, 1895 in Brooklyn, New York. His family left New York City while he was still a child and moved to St. Louis, Missouri where he grew up...

  • 1952—Viva Zapata!
    Viva Zapata!
    Viva Zapata! is a 1952 fictional-biographical film directed by Elia Kazan. The screenplay was written by John Steinbeck, using as a guide Edgcomb Pinchon's book, 'Zapata the Unconquerable', a fact that is not credited in the titles of the film...

    —directed by Elia Kazan
    Elia Kazan
    Elia Kazan was an American director and actor, described by the New York Times as "one of the most honored and influential directors in Broadway and Hollywood history". Born in Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, to Greek parents originally from Kayseri in Anatolia, the family emigrated...

    , featuring Marlon Brando
    Marlon Brando
    Marlon Brando, Jr. was an American movie star and political activist. "Unchallenged as the most important actor in modern American Cinema" according to the St...

    , Anthony Quinn
    Anthony Quinn
    Antonio Rodolfo Quinn-Oaxaca , more commonly known as Anthony Quinn, was a Mexican American actor, as well as a painter and writer...

     and Jean Peters
    Jean Peters
    Jean Peters was an American actress, known as a star of 20th Century Fox in the late 1940s and early 1950s and as the second wife of Howard Hughes...

  • 1955—East of Eden—directed by Elia Kazan
    Elia Kazan
    Elia Kazan was an American director and actor, described by the New York Times as "one of the most honored and influential directors in Broadway and Hollywood history". Born in Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, to Greek parents originally from Kayseri in Anatolia, the family emigrated...

    , featuring James Dean
    James Dean
    James Byron Dean was an American film actor. He is a cultural icon, best embodied in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause , in which he starred as troubled Los Angeles teenager Jim Stark...

    , Julie Harris
    Julie Harris
    Julia Ann "Julie" Harris is an American stage, screen, and television actress. She has won five Tony Awards, three Emmy Awards and a Grammy Award, and was nominated for an Academy Award. In 1994, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts. She is a member of the American Theatre Hall of Fame...

    , Jo Van Fleet
    Jo Van Fleet
    Jo Van Fleet was an American theatre and film actress.-Career:Van Fleet established herself as a notable dramatic actress on Broadway over several years, winning a Tony Award in 1954 for her skill in a difficult role, playing an unsympathetic, even abusive character, in Horton Foote's The Trip to...

    , and Raymond Massey
    Raymond Massey
    Raymond Hart Massey was a Canadian/American actor.-Early life:Massey was born in Toronto, Ontario, the son of Anna , who was born in Illinois, and Chester Daniel Massey, the wealthy owner of the Massey-Ferguson Tractor Company. Massey's family could trace their ancestry back to the American...

  • 1957—The Wayward Bus
    The Wayward Bus (film)
    The Wayward Bus is a 1957 drama film released by 20th Century Fox that starred Jayne Mansfield, Joan Collins, Dan Dailey and Rick Jason. The film was based on the novel of the same name by John Steinbeck.-Production background:...

    —directed by Victor Vicas, featuring Rick Jason
    Rick Jason
    Rick Jason , born Richard Jacobson, was an American actor, born in New York City, and most remembered for his role as 2nd Lt. Gil Hanley in the ABC television drama Combat! .-Biography:...

    , Jayne Mansfield
    Jayne Mansfield
    Jayne Mansfield was an American actress working both in Hollywood and on the Broadway theatre...

    , and Joan Collins
    Joan Collins
    Joan Henrietta Collins, OBE , is an English actress, author, and columnist. Born in Paddington and raised in Maida Vale, Collins grew up during the Second World War. At the age of nine, she made her stage debut in A Doll's House and after attending school, she was classically trained as an actress...

  • 1961—Flight—featuring Efrain Ramírez and Arnelia Cortez
  • 1962—Ikimize bir dünya (Of Mice and Men, Turkey)
  • 1972—Topoli (Of Mice and Men, Iran)
  • 1982—Cannery Row
    Cannery Row (film)
    Cannery Row is the title of a 1982 film directed by David S. Ward. It stars Nick Nolte and Debra Winger.Like the 1955 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Pipe Dream, the movie is adapted from John Steinbeck's novels Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday and contains many of the same plot elements...

    —directed by David S. Ward, featuring Nick Nolte
    Nick Nolte
    Nicholas King "Nick" Nolte is an American actor whose career has spanned over five decades, peaking in the 1990s when his commercial success made him one of the most popular celebrities of that decade.-Early life:...

     and Debra Winger
    Debra Winger
    Mary Debra Winger is an American actress. Three-times an Oscar nominee, she received awards for acting in Terms of Endearment, for which she won the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress in 1983, and in A Dangerous Woman, for which she won the Tokyo International Film Festival...

  • 1992—Of Mice and Men
    Of Mice and Men (1992 film)
    Of Mice and Men is a 1992 American film starring John Malkovich and Gary Sinise, directed and produced by Gary Sinise. It is the third movie adaptation of John Steinbeck's 1937 novel of the same name, and was preceded by the 1939 film version and the 1981 television movie.- Plot :George Milton is...

    —directed by Gary Sinise
    Gary Sinise
    Gary Alan Sinise is an American actor, film director and musician. During his career, Sinise has won various awards including an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Academy Award. In 1992, Sinise directed, and played the role of George Milton in the successful film adaptation of...

     and starring John Malkovich
    John Malkovich
    John Gavin Malkovich is an American actor, producer, director and fashion designer with his label Technobohemian. Over the last 25 years of his career, Malkovich has appeared in more than 70 motion pictures. For his roles in Places in the Heart and In the Line of Fire, he received Academy Award...

     and Gary Sinise

External links