John Steinbeck (1902-1968)

A selective list of online literary criticism for the twentieth-century American novelist John Steinbeck, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars and articles published in peer-reviewed sources


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introduction & literary criticism

"John Steinbeck." A brief introduction to Steinbeck, from the college textbook publisher the Heath Anthology of American Literature.

"The American Novel: 1890s-1920s Naturalism." An overview of naturalism in the American novel, and some of the novelists who can be considered naturalistic. Web site from PBS.

"Biography." Nobel Prize web page for John Steinbeck, winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize in literature, at the Nobel Prize web site.

"John Steinbeck." A Paris Review interview of Steinbeck by George Plimpton and Frank Crowther, Fall 1975.

Donohue, Cecilia. "John Steinbeck." An introduction to John Steinbeck from the Literary Encyclopedia 18 July 2003. On Travels with Charley in Search of America (1962) [subscription service].

Dickstein, Morris. "Steinbeck and the Great Depression." First page of article only. South Atlantic Quarterly 103, 1 (2004).

Halverson, Cathryn. "John Steinbeck's Sweetheart: The Cosmic American Bus." Halverson remarks of "The Wayward Bus," "whereas road books and movies featuring car travel are legion, dedicated 'bus books' like Steinbeck's are scarce." College Literature (2008)

Morsberger, Robert E. "Steinbeck and Censorship." Morsberger notes, "when The Grapes of Wrath was published in 1939, there was an intense effort to ban the novel and its film version and to vilify, discredit, and damage the author. Steinbeck is still one of the chief targets of censors, but in addition to attacks for political and allegedly moral reasons, he is also discredited by part of the literary establishment that wants to eliminate him from canonical literature." California State Polytechnic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 16 (Fall 2003).

Windschuttle, Keith. "Steinbeck's myth of the Okies" [Great Depression]. The New Criterion June 2002.

Voices from the Dustbowl. Background on Steinbeck's period and its problems. Library of Congress.

"You Go, Steinbeck." On Oprah's selection of East of Eden for her book club. Yale Review of Books Spring 2004.

News article about Steinbeck's heirs and their "epic" dispute for control of Steinbeck's estate. NY Times, 8/2/04.


teaching materials

A lesson plan for teaching Of Mice and Men to high school students. British Broadcasting Company.

A brief Teacher's Guide to John Steinbeck's "Flight," from textbook publisher Heath.

A teacher's guide to Cannery Row, and to The Grapes of Wrath, from Penguin.

Teachers resources for John Steinbeck from C-Span, created for their 2002 American Writers series.


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