Select Steinbeck Research Bibliography
Partially Annotated M through Z
- Magny, Claude-Edmonde. "Steinbeck, or the Limits of the
Impersonal Novel." The Age of the American Novel: The Film Aesthetic
of Fiction Between the Two Wars. Eleanor Hochman, trans. New York:
Frederick Ungar, 1972, 161-177.
Magny's assessment of Steinbeck's works'
relative literary value draws attention to many of Steinbeck's successful
aesthetic techniques, particularly his impersonal narrative approach and
his moral distance from the characters and stories. However, Magny claims
these same techniques limit Steinbeck to being an "animal novelist." A
thoughtful and often accurate analysis, but flawed by Magny's inability to
see beyond the categories of realism and naturalism.
- Marks, Lester J. Thematic Design in the Novels of John
Steinbeck. The Hague, The Netherlands: Mouton & Co. N.V., Pub.,
- Marsden, John L. "California Dreamin': The Significance of
'A Coupla Acres' in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men." Western
American Literature. 29.4 (Feb. 1995): 291-297.
A Foucauldian analysis of Lennie as an
unconfineable labor force beyond the control of and hence a threat to
Martin, Stoddard. California Writers: Jack London, John
Steinbeck, the Tough Guys. New York: St. Martin's P., 1983.
McElrath, Jospeh R., Jr., Jesse S. Crisler, and Susan
Shillinglaw, eds. John Steinbeck: The Contemporary Reviews. NY:
Cambridge U. P., 1996.
The editors have assembled an exhaustive
collection of critical response to Steinbeck's writing from the beginning
of his career to the present. Invaluable in estimating the tenor of
critical reception of his work and possible reactions on the part of the
Meyer, Michael J., ed. The Hayashi Steinbeck Bibliography
1982-1996. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow P., 1998.
Millichap, Joseph R. Steinbeck and Film. N.Y.:
Frederick Ungar, 1983.
Minter, David. "The Search for Shared Purpose: Struggle on
the Left." A Cultural History of the American Novel. Cambridge
U.P., 1994. 181-195.
As the title of his book suggests, Minter's
project traces the chronology of the (primarily) twentieth-century
American novel and culturally contextualizes key texts. In "The Search
for Shared Purpose," Minter closely examines the tenor of leftist thought
during the 1930s as reflected in various literary endeavors; and he places
Steinbeck's writing of that decade firmly within a native tradition of
protest that includes John Dos Passos, Nathaniel West, and Henry Roth,
while simultaneously differentiating him by virtue of his
Miron, George Thomas. The Truth About John Steinbeck
and the Migrants. Los Angeles: Haynes Corporation, 1939.
A text of great historical interest, particularly
to Steinbeck scholars, as it documents the contemporaneous reaction of the
larger agribusiness interests to Steinbeck's popular Grapes of
Parini, Jay. John Steinbeck: A Biography. New York:
Henry Holt, 1995.
A noteworthy addition to the canon of Steinbeck
scholarship, Parini does cover much of the same ground as Benson's
decade-earlier biography, but with the additional information revealed or
discovered in the interval and more critical evaluation. Still a reading
committment at 600+ pages. Parini's biography of Steinbeck has a much more
detailed index than Benson's and therefore may be more useful to
Railsback, Brian E. Parallel Expeditions: Charles Darwin
and the Art of John Steinbeck. Moscow: U. of Idaho P., 1995.
The most thorough investigation of Steinbeck's
nonteleogism since Astro's John Steinbeck and Edward F. Ricketts.
Railsback compares Steinbeck's Log From the Sea of Cortez to
Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle, and in the process persuasively
argues for a Darwinian basis for Steinbeck's philosophy.
Ricketts, Edward F. Renaissance Man of Cannery Row: The Life and Letters of Edward F. Ricketts. Ed. Katherine A. Rodger. Tuscaloosa: U. of Alabama P., 2002.
These collected letters of Ricketts to friends and family, including Steinbeck, should be of interest to those curious about the other half of the
philosophically productive pairing of Steinbeck and Ricketts. Rodgers' forty-four-page biographical essay on Ricketts, which precedes the letters,
is well constructed and provides enough context for those less familiar with the biologist to appreciate the correspondence. Interesting to read in light of Richard Astro's
John Steinbeck and Edward F. Ricketts: The Shaping of a Novelist.
Shasky, Florian J. and Susan F. Riggs, eds. Letters to
Elizabeth: A Selection of Letters From John Steinbeck to Elizabeth
Otis. San Francisco: Book Club of California, 1978.
Shillinglaw, Susan, ed. John Steinbeck: Centennial Reflections
by American Writers. San Jose State U.: Center for Steinbeck Studies, 2002.
An alphabetical collection of reflections by prominent
American writers, including Edward Albee, Rudolfo Anaya, Harper Lee, and many others,
on the occasion of Steinbeck's one-hundredth birthday. Establishes a strong case
for Steinbeck's past and present influence on American writers.
Shindo, Charles J. "The Perfectibility of Man: John
Steinbeck and The Grapes of Wrath." Dust Bowl Migrants in the
American Imagination. Lawrence: U. P. of Kansas, 1997.
Simmonds, Roy. John Steinbeck: The War Years,
1939-1945. Lewisburg: Bucknell U.P., 1996.
St. Pierre, Brian. John Steinbeck: The California
Years. The Literary West Series. San Francisco: Chronicle Books,
Steinbeck, Elaine and Robert Wallsten, eds. Steinbeck: A
Life in Letters. New York: Viking, 1975.
Unarguably an essential source for Steinbeck
scholarship, although a new edition with more letters and more
contextualization, i.e. the promptings and responses of Steinbeck's
correspondents is overdue.
Stoneback, H. R. "Rough People ... Are the Best Singers:
Woody Guthrie, John Steinbeck, and Folksong" The Steinbeck Question:
New Essays in Criticism. Donald R. Noble, ed. Troy, N.Y.: Whitson
While Stoneback explores Steinbeck's use of
folksong in his early fiction, his essay primarily documents Steinbeck's
influence on Woody Guthrie. As yet, apparently, no one can verify if
Steinbeck did, as rumored, write an introduction to a collection of
Stuckey, W. J. The Pulitzer Prize Novels: A Critical
Backward Look. Norman: U. of Oklahoma P., 1966; 117-121.
The section of Stuckey's book that treats The
Grapes of Wrath offers some interesting insights and speculations
about the choice of that novel for the Pulitzer in fiction for 1940.
While Stuckey concedes that Grapes is "above average" as far as
Pulitzer prize-winning novels go, judging it by the New Critical dictum of
"tone," he ultimately places its value in the category of great
socio-historical documents like Uncle Tom's Cabin.
Tedlock, E.W., Jr. and C.V. Wicker, eds. Steinbeck and
His Critics: A Record of Twenty-five Years. Albuquerque: U. of New
Mexico P., 1957.
Timmerman, John H. John Steinbeck's Fiction: The
Aesthetics of the Road Taken. Norman: U. of Oklahoma P., 1986.
Careful rhetorical and philosophical analysis of
Steinbeck as a literary artist, Timmerman's chapters/essays should prove
valuable to anyone considering Steinbeck's aesthetic merits and
deficiencies. Covers the majors works of his career.
Valjean, Nelson. John Steinbeck, The Errant Knight: An
Intimate Biography of his California Years. San Francisco:Chronicle
Visser, Nicholas. "Audience and Closure in The Grapes of
Wrath." Studies in American Fiction 22:11, Spring 1994:
Examining the "production and initial reception"
of The Grapes of Wrath, Visser describes its actual bourgeois
audience and its virtual audience of "dominated groups" lacking access to
high or official culture. Visser concludes that wanting to influence
bourgeois opinion, Steinbeck must necessarily dilute the radicalism he
would invoke. Interesting audience analysis.
Wagenknecht, Edward. "Two Kinds of Novelist: Steinbeck and
Marquand." New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1952, 438-448.
Walcutt, Charles Child. "Later Trends in Forms: Steinbeck,
Hemingway, Dos Passos." American Literary Naturalism, a Divided
Stream. Minneapolis: U. of Minnesota P., 1956.
Seeking Steinbeck's place in the history of
American naturalism, Walcutt, who theorizes that naturalism emerged from
early nineteenth-century transcendentalism, maintains that late in
that century, the two unified elements of transcendentalism, Spirit
(intuition) and Nature (science), divided into separate streams.
The stream of Spirit/intuition led to idealism, progressivism, and
social realism; while the stream of Nature/science led to mechanistic
determinism. According to Walcutt, in Steinbeck's works, these two
streams are held in tension, and as his work lacks formal unity, this
tension or dialectic is never resolved.
Watt, F.W. John Steinbeck. New York: Grove P.,
Brief, conventional and dated account of
Steinbeck's life and work. Of little interest beyond history of Steinbeck
Whitebrook, Peter. Staging Steinbeck: Dramatising
The Grapes of Wrath. London: Cassell Publishers Ltd., 1988.
Wollenberg, Charles. "Introduction to The Harvest
Gypsies." Berkeley, CA: Heyday Books, 1988.
Yano, Shigeharu, Tetsumaro Hayashi, Richard F. Peterson, and
Yasuo Hashiguchi. John Steinbeck: From Salinas to the World.
Tokyo: Gaku Shobo P., 1986.