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Home / Books / John Steinbeck birth anniversary: Remembering the author of Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck birth anniversary: Remembering the author of Grapes of Wrath

The author, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962, authored 33 books, 16 novels, six works of non-fiction and two collections of short stories.

books Updated: Feb 27, 2020 12:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
It is believed that an early draft of John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men was eaten by his dog. The novel’s title itself comes from the Robert Burns poem ‘To a Mouse’.
It is believed that an early draft of John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men was eaten by his dog. The novel’s title itself comes from the Robert Burns poem ‘To a Mouse’.

“There’s more beauty in truth, even if it is dreadful beauty,” John Steinbeck had written in his book East of Eden in describing verity in a poignant tone.

The author, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962, authored 33 books, 16 novels, six works of non-fiction and two collections of short stories.

It is believed that an early draft of John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men was eaten by his dog. The novel’s title itself comes from the Robert Burns poem ‘To a Mouse’.

The author is known for writing about “man’s proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit—for gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love.” He even made a reference to it in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech.

Here’s a look at his other memorable quotes.

- I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.

- All great and precious things are lonely.

- I believe a strong woman may be stronger than a man, particularly if she happens to have love in her heart. I guess a loving woman is indestructible.

- And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about.

- What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.

Here are a few novels by the author one should read

The Grapes of Wrath: Published in 1939, the realist novel won the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for fiction for Steinbeck. The novel is set during the Great Depression and focuses on a family of tenant farmers who have been forced out of their home in Oklahoma due to drought and economic hardship.

The novel is considered to be Steinbeck’s masterpiece and was even adapted for the big screen starring Henry Fonda and directed by John Ford in 1940.

East of Eden: Described as Steinbeck’s most ambitious novel, East of Eden was published in 1952 and chronicles the journey of two families. The novel is supposed to be based on the real-life family of Samuel Hamilton and Steinbeck also appears in it briefly as a minor character.

The Red Pony: An episodic novella by the author, The Red Pony was published in magazines between 1933 and 1936. The final book was published in 1937. The book has four stories revolving around the character Jody and his life on his father’s California ranch.

Tortilla Flat: A comic novel set in California, Tortilla Flat was the author’s first critical and commercial success and portrays a group of countrymen enjoying life in the days after the end of World War I.

Travels with Charley: In Search of America: The 1962 book by Steinbeck is a travelogue that depicts an earlier road trip around the US in the company of his standard poodle, Charley.

The author said he was moved by a wish to see his country on a personal level. He wrote about travelling through the country in a camper named Rocinante, named after Don Quixote’s horse. The journey encompasses over 16,000 kilometres.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)

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