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Library of America John Steinbeck Edition

John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck: Novels and Stories 1932-1937 (LOA #72) by John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck: Novels 1942-1952 (LOA #132) by John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck: Travels with Charley and Later Novels 1947-1962 (LOA #170) by John Steinbeck

Library of America John Steinbeck Edition : Titles in Order

Book 4
John Steinbeck was never content to repeat himself, and his restless search for new forms and fresh subject matter is fully evident in the books of his later years. This volume collects four novels that exhibit the full range of his gift, along with a travel book that has become one of his most enduringly popular works.

In The Wayward Bus (1947), Steinbeck leads a group of ill-matched passengers representing a spectrum of social types and classes, stranded by a washed-out bridge, on a circuitous journey that exposes cruelties, self-deceptions, and unsuspected moral strengths. The tone ranges from boisterous comedy to trenchant satirical observation of postwar America. Burning Bright (1950), an allegory set against shifting backgrounds (circus, sea, farm) and revolving around the fear of sterility and the desire for self-perpetuation, marks Steinbeck’s involvement with the drama in its fusion of the forms of novel and play.

Sweet Thursday (1954) marks Steinbeck’s return, in a mood of sometimes frothy comedy, to the characters and milieu of his earlier Cannery Row. A love story set against the background of the local brothel, the Bear Flag, Sweet Thursday is for all its intimations of melancholy one of the most lighthearted of Steinbeck’s books. It was subsequently adapted by Rodgers and Hammerstein into their musical Pipe Dream. Steinbeck’s final novel, The Winter of Our Discontent (1961) is set in an old Long Island whaling town modeled on Sag Harbor, where he had been spending time since 1953. The book breaks new ground in its depiction of the crass commercialism of contemporary America, and its impact on a protagonist with traditionalist values who is appalled but finally tempted by the encroaching sleaziness.

Travels with Charley in Search of America (1962) was Steinbeck’s last published book. A record of his experiences and observations as he drove around America in a pickup truck, accompanied by his standard poodle Charley, it is filled with engaging, often humorous description and comes to a powerful climax in an encounter with racist demonstrators in New Orleans.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 3
This third volume in The Library of America’s authoritative edition of John Steinbeck’s writings shows one of America’s most enduring popular writers continuing restlessly to explore new subject matter and new approaches to storytelling.

The Moon Is Down (1942), set in an unnamed Scandinavian country under German occupation, dramatizes the transformation of ordinary life under totalitarian rule and the underground struggle against the Nazi invaders.In Cannery Row (1945) Steinbeck paid tribute to his closest friend, the marine biologist Ed Ricketts, in the central character of Doc, proprietor of the Western Biological Laboratory and spiritual and financial mainstay of a cast of philosophical drifters and hangers-on. The comic and bawdy evocation of the main street of Monterey’s sardine-canning district has made this one of the most popular of all Steinbeck’s novels. Steinbeck’s long involvement with Mexican culture is distilled in The Pearl (1947). Expanding on an anecdote he had heard about a boy who found a pearl of unusual size, Steinbeck turned it into an allegory of the corrupting influence of sudden wealth. The Pearl appears here with the original illustrations by José Clemente Orozco.

Ambitious in scale and original in structure, East of Eden (1952) recounts the violent and emotionally turbulent history of a Salinas Valley family through several generations. Drawing on Biblical parallels, East of Eden is an epic that explores the writer’s deepest and most anguished concerns within a landscape that for him had mythic resonance.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 2
The second volume in The Library of America’s authoritative edition of John Steinbeck features his acknowledged masterpiece, The Grapes of Wrath. Written in an incredibly compressed five-month period, the novel had an electrifying impact upon publication in 1939. Tracing the journey of the Joad family from the dust bowl of Oklahoma to the migrant camps of California, Steinbeck creates an American epic, spacious, impassioned, and pulsating with the rhythms of living speech. The novel won the Pulitzer Prize and has since sold millions of copies worldwide.

This text of The Grapes of Wrath has been newly edited based on Steinbeck’s manuscript, typescript, and proofs. Many errors have been corrected, and words omitted or misconstrued by his typist have been restored. In addition, The Harvest Gypsies, his 1936 investigative report on migrant workers, which laid the groundwork for the novel, is included as an appendix.

The Long Valley (1938) displays Steinbeck’s brilliance as a writer of short stories, including such classics as “The Chrysanthemums,” “The White Quail,” “Flight,” and “The Red Pony.” Set in the Salinas Valley landscape that was Steinbeck’s enduring inspiration, the stories explore moments of fear, tenderness, isolation, and violence with poetic intensity.

The Log from the Sea of Cortez, an account of the 1940 marine biological expedition in which Steinbeck participated with his close friend Ed Ricketts, is a unique blend of science, philosophy, and adventure, as well as one of Steinbeck’s most revealing expositions of his core beliefs. First published in 1941 as part of the collaborative volume Sea of Cortez, Steinbeck’s narrative was reissued separately a decade later, augmented by the moving tribute “About Ed Ricketts.”

This volume contains a newly researched chronology, notes, and an essay on textual selection. It is the second of four volumes in The Library of America edition of John Steinbeck’s writings.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 1
The Library of America presents for the first time in one volume Steinbeck’s early writings, which expressed his abiding concerns for community, social justice, and the elemental connection between nature and human society. In prose that blends the vernacular and the incantatory, the local and the mythic, these five works chart Steinbeck’s evolution into one of the greatest and most enduring popular of American novelists.

The Pastures of Heaven (1932), a collection of interrelated stories, delineates the troubled inner lives and sometimes disastrous fates of families living in a seemingly tranquil California valley. The surface realism of Steinbeck’s first mature work is enriched by hints of uncanny forces at work beneath.
 
“Deep down it’s mine, right to the center of the world,” says Salinas Valley farmer Joseph Wayne about his land in John Steinbeck’s To a God Unknown (1933). A sense of primeval magic dominates the novel as the farmer reverts to pagan nature worship and begins a tortuous journey toward catastrophe and ultimate understanding.
 
Steinbeck’s sympathetic depiction of the raffish paisons of Tortilla Flat (1935), a ramshackle district above Monterey, first won him popular attention. The Flat’s tenderhearted, resourceful, mildly corrupt, over-optimistic characters are a triumph of life-affirming humor.

In Dubious Battle (1936) plunges into the political struggle of the 1930s and paints a vigorous fresco of a migrant fruit-pickers’ strike. Anticipating the collective portraiture of The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck poignantly traces the surges and shifts of group behavior.

With Of Mice and Men (1937), Steinbeck secured his status as one of the most influential American writers. Lennie and George, itinerant farmhands held together in the face of deprivation only by the frailest of dreams, have long since passed into American mythology. This novel, which Steinbeck called “such a simple little thing,” is now recognized as a masterpiece of concentrated emotional power.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.

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