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The Grapes of Wrath (Penguin Classics)by John Steinbeck
Synopses & Reviews
Today, nearly forty years after his death, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck remains one of America’s greatest writers and cultural figures. Over the next year, his many works published as black-spine Penguin Classics for the first time and will feature eye-catching, newly commissioned art.
The Grapes of Wrath is a landmark of American literature. 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. Although it follows the movement of thousands of men and women and the transformation of an entire nation, The Grapes of Wrath is also the story of one Oklahoma family, the Joads, who are driven off 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.
First published in 1939, The Grapes of Wrath summed up its era in the way that Uncle Tom’s Cabin summed up the years of slavery before the Civil War. Sensitive to fascist and communist criticism, Steinbeck insisted that “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” be printed in its entirety in the first edition of the book—which takes its title from the first verse: “He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.” At once a naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s fictional chronicle of the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s is perhaps the most American of American Classics.
Penguin Classics commemorates the 50th anniversary of Steinbeck's Nobel Prize with Portable Steinbeck for the 21st century
It would be impossible to overstate John Steinbeck's enduring influence on American letters. Profuse with a richness of language, sly humor, and empathy for even his most flawed characters, Steinbeck's books are still widely read and deeply relevant today.
The Portable Steinbeck is a grand sampling of his most important and popular works. Here are the complete novels Of Mice and Men and The Red Pony, together with self-contained excerpts from several longer novels, the text of his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, a fascinating introduction by Pascal Covici, Jr., son of Steinbeck's longtime editor, and brand new introduction from leading Steinbeck scholar Susan Shillinglaw that puts Steinbeck in the context of the 21st century.
Today, nearly forty years after his death, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck remains one of Americ‛s greatest writers and cultural figures. Over the next year, his many works published as black-spine Penguin Classics for the first time and will feature eye-catching, newly commissioned art.
Of this initial group of six titles, The Grapes of Wrath is in a new edition with a completely revised introduction and, for the first time, detailed notes by leading Steinbeck scholar Robert DeMott.
Penguin Classics is proud to present these seminal works to a new generation of readersÂ—and to the many who revisit them again and again.
About the Author
JOHN STEINBECK (1902Â–1968) was born in Salinas, California. He worked as a laborer and a journalist, and in 1935, when he published Tortilla Flat, he achieved popular success and financial security. Steinbeck wrote more than twenty-five novels and won the Nobel Prize in 1962.
Robert DeMott is the Edwin and Ruth Kennedy Distinguished Professor at Ohio University and the author of Steinbec‛s Typewriter, an award-winning book of critical essays.
Gary Scharnhorst is professor of English at the University of New Mexico. He is the editor of books by Bret Harte and John De Forest for Penguin Classics.
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