64 Facts About John Steinbeck


John Steinbeck is widely known for the comic novels Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row (1945), the multi-generation epic East of Eden (1952), and the novellas The Red Pony (1933) and Of Mice and Men (1937).

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John Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California.

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John Steinbeck arrived in the United States in 1858, shortening the family name to Steinbeck.

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John Steinbeck lived in a small rural valley set in some of the world's most fertile soil, about 25 miles from the Pacific Coast.

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John Steinbeck spent his summers working on nearby ranches including the Post Ranch in Big Sur.

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John Steinbeck later labored with migrant workers on Spreckels sugar beet farms.

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John Steinbeck explored his surroundings, walking across local forests, fields, and farms.

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John Steinbeck had considerable mechanical aptitude and fondness for repairing things he owned.

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John Steinbeck graduated from Salinas High School in 1919 and went on to study English literature at Stanford University near Palo Alto, leaving without a degree in 1925.

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John Steinbeck traveled to New York City where he took odd jobs while trying to write.

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In 1930, John Steinbeck met the marine biologist Ed Ricketts, who became a close friend and mentor to John Steinbeck during the following decade, teaching him a great deal about philosophy and biology.

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When John Steinbeck became emotionally upset, Ricketts sometimes played music for him.

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In 1930, John Steinbeck wrote a werewolf murder mystery, Murder at Full Moon, that has never been published because John Steinbeck considered it unworthy of publication.

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In 1933 John Steinbeck published The Red Pony, a 100-page, four-chapter story weaving in memories of John Steinbeck's childhood.

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John Steinbeck achieved his first critical success with Tortilla Flat, a novel set in post-war Monterey, California, that won the California Commonwealth Club's Gold Medal.

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John Steinbeck began to write a series of "California novels" and Dust Bowl fiction, set among common people during the Great Depression.

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John Steinbeck wrote an article series called The Harvest Gypsies for the San Francisco News about the plight of the migrant worker.

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Later that year, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was adapted as a film directed by John Steinbeck Ford, starring Henry Fonda as Tom Joad; Fonda was nominated for the best actor Academy Award.

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Controversy, John Steinbeck wrote, "The vilification of me out here from the large landowners and bankers is pretty bad.

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John Steinbeck frequently took small trips with Ricketts along the California coast to give himself time off from his writing and to collect biological specimens, which Ricketts sold for a living.

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However, in 1951, John Steinbeck republished the narrative portion of the book as The Log from the Sea of Cortez, under his name only.

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Ricketts' biographer Eric Enno Tamm opined that, except for East of Eden, John Steinbeck's writing declined after Ricketts' untimely death in 1948.

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In 1945, John Steinbeck received the King Haakon VII Freedom Cross for his literary contributions to the Norwegian resistance movement.

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In 1943, John Steinbeck served as a World War II war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune and worked with the Office of Strategic Services.

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John Steinbeck returned from the war with a number of wounds from shrapnel and some psychological trauma.

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John Steinbeck wrote Alfred Hitchcock's movie, Lifeboat, and with screenwriter Jack Wagner, A Medal for Benny (1945), about paisanos from Tortilla Flat going to war.

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John Steinbeck later requested that his name be removed from the credits of Lifeboat, because he believed the final version of the film had racist undertones.

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The novel is an imaginative telling of a story which John Steinbeck had heard in La Paz in 1940, as related in The Log From the Sea of Cortez, which he described in Chapter 11 as being "so much like a parable that it almost can't be".

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John Steinbeck traveled to Cuernavaca, Mexico for the filming with Wagner who helped with the script; on this trip he would be inspired by the story of Emiliano Zapata, and subsequently wrote a film script directed by Elia Kazan and starring Marlon Brando and Anthony Quinn.

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In 1947, John Steinbeck made his first trip to the Soviet Union with photographer Robert Capa.

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In 1948, the year the book was published, John Steinbeck was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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In 1952, John Steinbeck appeared as the on-screen narrator of 20th Century Fox's film, O Henry's Full House.

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About the same time, John Steinbeck recorded readings of several of his short stories for Columbia Records; the recordings provide a record of John Steinbeck's deep, resonant voice.

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Glastonbury Tor was visible from the cottage, and John Steinbeck visited the nearby hillfort of Cadbury Castle, the supposed site of King Arthur's court of Camelot.

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John Steinbeck bemoans his lost youth and roots, while dispensing both criticism and praise for the United States.

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Apparently taken aback by the critical reception of this novel, and the critical outcry when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962, John Steinbeck published no more fiction in the remaining six years before his death.

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In 1962, John Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for literature for his "realistic and imaginative writing, combining as it does sympathetic humor and keen social perception.

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Fifty years later, in 2012, the Nobel Prize opened its archives and it was revealed that John Steinbeck was a "compromise choice" among a shortlist consisting of John Steinbeck, British authors Robert Graves and Lawrence Durrell, French dramatist Jean Anouilh and Danish author Karen Blixen.

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John Steinbeck thought of the Vietnam War as a heroic venture and was considered a hawk for his position on the war.

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John Steinbeck's sons served in Vietnam before his death, and Steinbeck visited one son in the battlefield.

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In May 1948, John Steinbeck returned to California on an emergency trip to be with his friend Ed Ricketts, who had been seriously injured when a train struck his car.

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John Steinbeck spent the year after Ricketts' death in deep depression.

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In June 1949, John Steinbeck met stage-manager Elaine Scott at a restaurant in Carmel, California.

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John Steinbeck was an acquaintance with the modernist poet Robinson Jeffers, a Californian neighbor.

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In 1962, John Steinbeck began acting as friend and mentor to the young writer and naturalist Jack Rudloe, who was trying to establish his own biological supply company, now Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory in Florida.

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In 1966, John Steinbeck traveled to Tel Aviv to visit the site of Mount Hope, a farm community established in Israel by his grandfather, whose brother, Friedrich Großsteinbeck, was murdered by Arab marauders in 1858 in what became known as the Outrages at Jaffa.

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John Steinbeck died in New York City on December 20, 1968, during the 1968 flu pandemic of heart disease and congestive heart failure.

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John Steinbeck had written to his doctor that he felt deeply "in his flesh" that he would not survive his physical death, and that the biological end of his life was the final end to it.

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Many of John Steinbeck's works are required reading in American high schools.

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Contrariwise, John Steinbeck's works have been frequently banned in the United States.

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John Steinbeck grew up in California's Salinas Valley, a culturally diverse place with a rich migratory and immigrant history.

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In Monterey, Ed Ricketts' laboratory survives and at the corner which John Steinbeck describes in Cannery Row, the store which once belonged to Lee Chong, and the adjacent vacant lot frequented by the hobos of Cannery Row.

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In 1958 the street that John Steinbeck described as "Cannery Row" in the novel, once named Ocean View Avenue, was renamed Cannery Row in honor of the novel.

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On February 27, 1979, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp featuring John Steinbeck, starting the Postal Service's Literary Arts series honoring American writers.

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John Steinbeck was inducted in to the DeMolay International Hall of Fame in 1995.

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John Steinbeck was affiliated to the St Paul's Episcopal Church and he stayed attached throughout his life to Episcopalianism.

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Especially in his works of fiction, John Steinbeck was highly conscious of religion and incorporated it into his style and themes.

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John Steinbeck distanced himself from religious views when he left Salinas for Stanford.

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John Steinbeck joined the League of American Writers, a Communist organization, in 1935.

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John Steinbeck was mentored by radical writers Lincoln Steffens and his wife Ella Winter.

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Documents released by the Central Intelligence Agency in 2012 indicate that John Steinbeck offered his services to the Agency in 1952, while planning a European tour, and the Director of Central Intelligence, Walter Bedell Smith, was eager to take him up on the offer.

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In June 1957, John Steinbeck took a personal and professional risk by supporting him when Miller refused to name names in the House Un-American Activities Committee trials.

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John Steinbeck called the period one of the "strangest and most frightening times a government and people have ever faced.

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John Steinbeck nicknamed his truck Rocinante after Don Quixote's "noble steed".

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