The Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression, a book that galvanized—and sometimes outraged—millions of readers. First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads—driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity. A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man’s fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman’s stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America. At once a naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s powerful landmark novel is perhaps the most American of American Classics. This Centennial edition, specially designed to commemorate one hundred years of Steinbeck, features french flaps and deckle-edged pages. For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
This book aims to both describe and analyze the way Steinbeck learned the writing craft. It begins with his immersion in the short story, some years after he stopped attending Stanford University. Aside from a weak first novel, his professional writing career began with the publication in 1932 of The Pastures of Heaven, stories set in the Salinas Valley and dedicated to his parents. From that book he wrote truly commanding stories such as The Red Pony. Intermixed with Steinbeck’s journalism about California’s labor difficulties, his writing skill led to his 1930 masterpieces, Of Mice and Men, In Dubious Battle, and The Grapes of Wrath. The latter novel, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1940, led eventually to his being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. He continued producing such wide-ranging works as The Pearl, East of Eden, The Winter of Our Discontent, and Travels with Charley up to just a few months before his death in 1968.
At the core of the story Steinbeck wrote as a play-novella are the well-known characters of Lenny and George, migrant workers, lifelong companions, the one hugely strong and mentally deficient, the other small, wiry, and quick-minded. Hadella offers a complete analysis of these characters and their relationship, bringing to bear both Jungian and biblical mythology and comparing them with figures in other Steinbeck works.
Hennepin County Library. Technical Services Division