Synopses & Reviews
A masterpiece of Biblical scope, and the magnum opus of one of Americas most enduring authors
In his journal, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck called East of Eden "the first book," and indeed it has the primordial power and simplicity of myth. Set in the rich farmland of California's Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two familiesthe Trasks and the Hamiltonswhose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.
The masterpiece of Steinbecks later years, East of Eden is a work in which Steinbeck created his most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love's absence. Adapted for the 1955 film directed by Elia Kazan introducing James Dean and read by thousands as the book that brought Oprahs Book Club back, East of Eden has remained vitally present in American culture for over half a century. This Penguin Classics edition features an introduction by David Wyatt.
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.
John Steinbeck knew and understood America and Americans better than any other writer of the twentieth century. (The Dallas Morning News
) A man whose work was equal to the vast social themes that drove him. (Don DeLillo)"
"A novel planned on the grandest possible scale...One of those occasions when a writer has aimed high and then summoned every ounce of energy, talent, seriousness, and passion of which he was capable...It is an entirely interesting and impressive book."
—The New York Herald Tribune
"A fantasia and myth...a strange and original work of art."
—The New York Times Book Review
"A moving, crying pageant with wilderness strengths."
"When the book club ended a year ago, I said I would bring it back when I found the book that was moving…and this is a great one. I read it for myself for the first time and then I had some friends read it. And we think it might be the best novel we've ever read!"
Today, nearly forty years after his death, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck remains one of Americas greatest writers and cultural figures. We have begun publishing his many works for the first time as blackspine Penguin Classics featuring eye-catching, newly commissioned art. This season we continue with the seven spectacular and influential books East of Eden, Cannery Row, In Dubious Battle, The Long Valley, The Moon Is Down, The Pastures of Heaven, and Tortilla Flat. Penguin Classics is proud to present these seminal works to a new generation of readersand to the many who revisit them again and again.
The masterpiece of Steinbeck's later years, East of Eden is the powerful and vastly ambitious novel that is both family saga and a modern retelling of the book of Genesis.
Includes bibliographical references (p. xxix-xxx).
About the Author
JOHN STEINBECK (19021968) 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. Nearly all of his books are available in Penguin Classics.