John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, USA
on 27th February, 1902 in a middle class family. His paternal
grandfather had migrated from Germany. His mother was a former school
teacher and had great passion for reading and writing which the young
John had inherited.
After passing out from Salinas High School,
John joined Stanford University at Pal Alto, spent 5 years there but
could not pass and left without a degree for New York. Here he tried
his hand in writing but could not get his works published. He returned
to California in 1928 and worked as a tour guide and care-taker at a
fish hatchery. In January, 1930, he married to Carol Henning who
became his first wife. Great depression had set in and jobs were
drying up. Steinbeck's father had somehow noticed the penchant for
writing in the young man and provided him with free house, food,
manuscripts so that John could focus on writing.
Steinbeck's first novel was "Cup of Gold"
published in 1929.His novel "Tortilla Flat"(1935) became his
first successful work. His succeeding novels were "In Dubious Battle",
"Of Mice and Men" and "The Grapes of Wrath" which portray the
misery of migrant workers and unfortunate men & women trapped in the
grip of Post Depression economic turmoil. The titles of the novels
were suggested by his wife. In 1942, he divorced his first wife and
Gwyndolyn "Gwyn" Conger. In 1943, he served as a War Correspondent. In
1947, he visited Soviet Russia and would visit the country several
times afterwards. His book "
A Russian Journal"
was the product of those visits
writings echo men and women's capacity for greatness of heart
and spirit even in acute adversities. He stood for the hapless and the
poor, for the persons whom luck had abandoned as he
identified himself as one of those less fortunate ones. His most
acclaimed work "Of Mice and Men" is termed as a little
masterpiece. He got Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962.Steinbeck
considered his novel "East of Eden" as one of his best
creations. His last novel was "The Winter of Our Discontent"(1961)
which dwelt upon the moral decline of America. He breathed his last on
December 20, 1968.
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