John Steinbeck Resources

Steinbeck on the Web

Steinbeck's Nobel Acceptance speech
He received the Nobel Prize for Literature for 1962.

"Such is the prestige of the Nobel Award and of this place where I stand that I am impelled, not to speak like a grateful and apologetic mouse, but to roar like a lion out of pride in my profession and in the great and good men who have practised it through the ages." -- John Steinbeck

Wikipedia :: John Steinbeck
The Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia is an exquisite result of the internet. This is an excellent Uncertainty Principle resource, fully hyperlinked through the Wikipedia encyclopedia.

John Steinbeck (February 27, 1902 - December 20, 1968) was one of the most famous American novelists of the 20th century. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1962, though his popularity with readers never was matched by the literary critics.
-- Wikipedia
Steinbeck Center Foundation
Our mission is the exploration of Human Values through Universal Ideas found in the works of John Steinbeck.

Well, I get the creeps whenever someone starts capitalizing phrases like Human Values and Universal ideas, however, this site is an excellent source for biographical information.


John Steinbeck: The California Novels
Ed Stephan brings us a gorgeous, thoroughly researched and informative site. Chapter summaries and more for a large number of Steinbeck's novels, and a great link section.


Steinbeck's myth of the Okies
Grapes of Wrath undergoes some historical revisionism.

"The Grapes of Wrath is the only example of the proletarian novel to survive. Why it became the story that defined the Great Depression for America is a question that still calls for an answer. Why weren’t other novels from this genre and this period—stories of battles at Carolina textile mills, Pennsylvania steel towns, or Appalachian coal mines—the ones that did the job? The ultimate answer does not lie in the proletarian novel or any other version of Marxist literary endeavor. The enduring appeal of Steinbeck’s story—though not his book—is its application of a great Biblical theme to the experience of an ordinary American farming family." -- Keith Windschuttle


John Steinbeck: Advice for Beginning writers
Just figured I'd end with something Steinbeck actually wrote...and some good advice too.

"The basic rule given us was simple and heartbreaking. A story to be effective had to convey something from the writer to the reader, and the power of its offering was the measure of its excellence. Outside of that, there were no rules." -- John Steinbeck

Steinbeck on Nomadic Spirit pages

John, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore...Oklahoma!
Let's start things off with a quote, from The Grapes of Wrath of course, as are all the quotes following. This one's about what remains after all else has been stripped away.
Going to and fro...
Another quote, preceeded by a passing reference in the journal entry. About leadership.
More of that history, if you will _ Part III
A quote. Leaning on pencils...
The last of that history wall; I bet you're pleased _ Part IV
A quote. Um, a passage. Well, an excerpt really, concerning owner men, tenant men and monsters.
Enough history already, how 'bout some real stuff?
Three paragraphs this time: tractor men.
Buiwdings t'ow stories.
What men will do for $3 a day. Another lengthy excerpt.
Cowboys and Indians.
More on why pa don't like writin'.
Losin' the sperit.
Casey's prayer. An excerpt. And if you read the article above this quote, you'll find it concludes with Steinbeck.
The last place in Oklahoma.
Picking over the possessions.
The Road of Flight.
Chapter 12, in which Steinbeck says, "66 is the mother road, the road of flight." This is followed by a quote about the tiredness of women.
The Mother Road.
Some of my own commentary, on what Steinbeck means by "The Mother Road." Followed by a quote about being scared.
Another mother.
Chapter 14, about the beginning change (which never comes). Followed by a shorter excerpt: the vacant land.
Santa Fe
About what the Americans wanted more than anyone else. A quote.
I still don't get it...
What I still don't get is why Route 66 became such a magical highway. Significant, important, busy: these I understand. But why has it captured so many imaginations? And why does the phrase "The Mother Road" have such a positive meaning in the vernacular when Steinbeck's viewpoint on the highway appears rather bleak? Why have we forgotten that he saw it also as "The Road of Flight"?
The dustless air.
I comment here about what the desert is filled with.
I need a vacation.
I make some passing references to Steinbeck's "pretty little town," Needles.
lost entries
I quote a passage from The Grapes of Wrath and discuss its implications for me. Probably not the kind of topic or implications you'd usually expect from me...