Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Author John Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California. He started writing in the 1920s and saw his first success with Tortilla Flat (1935), a short-story cycle set in post-war Monterey. His next works were three Depression-era novels about California farm-workers: In Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men (1937) and The Grapes of Wrath (1939), the titles of which were suggested by his first wife, Carol Henning. The story of the Joads, tenant farmers driven from Oklahoma in the Dust Bowl, was widely read in America and earned Steinbeck both praise and condemnation for its New Deal political views, sympathy with workers and negative depiction of capitalism. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940. Although farmers vilified Steinbeck as a propagandist for socialism, the Nobel committee, in awarding him the 1962 Prize for Literature, called The Grapes of Wrath a great work. Pictured: first edition.