Biographical Works

Bredeson, Carmen.  “John Steinbeck.”  American Writers of the 20th Century.
        Springfield, NJ: Enslow, 1996.  53-60.

        Is one chapter in a book for young adults that summarizes the lives and accomplishments of ten
        American writers of the twentieth century including William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, Ernest
        Hemingway, and Maya Angelou.  The chapter on Steinbeck describes his childhood, work
        experiences, life at Stanford University, first writing successes, relationship with Edward
        Ricketts, marriages, and later life.  Discusses the significance of Ricketts to Cannery
        Row and Sweet Thursday, as well as the importance of
The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and
        Men.


Ferguson, Stephen, comp. John Steinbeck: The Collection of Preston Beyer: Donated to
        the Princeton University Library by His Daughters Barbara A. Rice, Marilyn S.
        Shuffler, Lynne B. Sagalyn: Annotated Catalogue of the Collection.
Princeton:
        Dept. of Rare Books and Spec. Collections, Princeton U Lib., 1998.

        Catalogs the Steinbeck collection of Preston Beyer, which consists of about 1,500 books,
         pamphlets,clippings, magazines, and correspondence.  Includes a preface that discusses
         the donation to Princeton, the scope of the catalogue, and the arrangement of entries. 
         Also includes an introduction by Beyer. Consists of three parts: materials by Steinbeck,
         materials about Steinbeck, and manuscripts.  Some entries feature Beyer’s original annotations.

Florence, Donne.  John Steinbeck: America’s Author. Springfield: Enslow, 1999.

Harmon, Robert B.  John Steinbeck: An Annotated Guide to Biographical Sources.
        Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 1996.

        Begins with an introduction on Steinbeck’s aversion to biographies and implies that he
        would have been satisfied with a biography that explored how he wrote instead of why
        he wrote.  Includes almost 600 annotated entries of guides and indexes to biographical
        sources, Steinbeck biographies, autobiographical sources, biographical dictionaries, subject
        dictionaries, obituary sources, and audiovisual material.  Ends with a very detailed chronology.
        Features some rare photographs of Steinbeck, his family, teachers, school, Ed Ricketts,
        and friend Bo Beskow’s portrait.

Perkins, Christine N.  100 Authors Who Shaped World History. San Mateo, CA:
        Bluewood, 1996.

       Offers brief biographies arranged in chronological order of 100 influential authors of the
       world.  Serves as an introduction to these writers and would be particularly useful for
       young adults.  The section on John Steinbeck lists and describes his major works in essay
       form and explains what his writing is most notable for.

Reef, Catherine.  John Steinbeck.  New York: Clarion, 1996.
       Presents a respectful biography of Steinbeck geared towards young adults.  Combines
       his experiences with excerpts from his writing and photographs of him, his subjects, and
       his America.  Focuses on his childhood, life at Stanford, and the making of
The Grapes of
       Wrath.
Briefly touches on his later works and his later life, including marriages, political
       involvement, and travels.

Schneiderman, Leo.  Motherless Children, Fatherless Waifs: Fictional Protagonists
       and the Artist’s Search for the Real Self.
I.O. Evans Studies in the Philosophy
       and Criticism of Lit.  Vol. 12.  San Bernardino, CA: Borgo, 1996. 

       Examines the lives and works of ten twentieth century authors using psychoanalysis. 
       Offers a glossary of psychoanalytic terms for those unfamiliar with the theory.  The chapter
       “John Steinbeck: A Study of Identity Diffusion and Ambivalence” claims that Steinbeck had
        an overbearing mother who influenced his use of female characters in his works.  Contends
        that his unpopular youth forced him to live vicariously through his fantasies in writing and to
        develop his phalanx theory.  Also explores his relationship with his father and several
       “father figures,” including Edward Ricketts and Lyndon Johnson.  Contains several comments
        that make one wonder if Schneiderman is sufficiently familiar with Steinbeck’s life and works
.
Simmonds, Roy.  John Steinbeck: The War Years, 1939-1945.  Lewisburg, PA:
        Bucknell UP, 1996.


Sonnenberg, Rhonda.  “John Steinbeck: America Against Itself.”  Still We Danced
        Forward: WWII and the Writer’s Life.
Washington: Brassey’s, 1998.  51-87.
        Is a chapter in a book that examines the lives of seven authors whose lives and writings
        were affected by World War II.  Begins by describing how Steinbeck arrived at his phalanx
        theory and how this theory came to be demonstrated by Hitler and his following.  Analyzes
        Steinbeck’s trip to the Sea of Cortez, the break-up of his first marriage, and his itinerancy
        during the war.  Illustrates his struggle to be allowed to serve the government as a writer
        for the war effort and his pain at being rejected.  Describes his experiences and brushes with
        death as a war reporter for the
New York Herald Tribune.  Suggests that his second marriage
        ended because of the effects of the war on him.  Briefly looks at how his subsequent novels
        were affected by his war experience.


Back to Table of Contents
1