Benson

The Short Novels of John Steinbeck : Critical Essays with a Checklist to Steinbeck Criticism

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9780822309949

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9780822309949
The Grapes of Wrath is generally considered Steinbeck’s masterpiece, but the short novel was the form he most frequently turned to and most consciously theorized about, and with constant experimentation he made the form his own. Much of the best—and the worst—of his writing appears in his short novels. This collection reviews what has been categorized as the “good” and the “bad,” looking beyond the careless labeling that has characterized a great deal of the commentary on Steinbeck’s writing to the true strengths and weaknesses of the works. The contributors demonstrate that even in the short novels that are most often criticized, there is more depth and sophistication than has generally been acknowledged.
The essays examine the six most popular short novels— Tortilla Flat, The Red Pony, Of Mice and Men, The Moon Is Down, Cannery Row, and The Pearl—in addition to the three usually thought of as less successful— Burning Bright, Sweet Thursday, and The Short Reign of Pippin IV. Because most of Steinbeck’s short novels were adapted and presented as plays or screenplays, many of the essays deal with dramatic or film versions of the short novels as well as with the fiction. The collection concludes with a comprehensive checklist of criticism of the short novels.

Contributors. Richard Astro, Jackson J. Benson, Carroll Britch, John Ditsky, Joseph Fontenrose, Warren French, Robert Gentry, Mimi Reisel Gladstein, William Goldhurst, Tetsumaro Hayashi, Robert S. Hughes Jr., Howard Levant, Clifford Lewis, Peter Lisca, Anne Loftis, Charles R. Metzger, Michael J. Meyer, Robert E. Morsberger, Louis Owens, Roy S. Simmonds, Mark Spilka, John Timmerman

Specifications

Publisher
Duke University Press Books
Book Format
Paperback
Original Languages
English
Number of Pages
360
Author
Benson, Jackson J., Benson, Jackson J. Benson
Title
The Short Novels of John Steinbeck
ISBN-13
9780822309949
Publication Date
November, 1989
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
9.02 x 5.89 x 1.00 Inches
ISBN-10
0822309947

Customer Reviews

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Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

Picked up the collecti...

Picked up the collection so I could read Cannery Row while visiting Monterey. Imagining the old Cannery Row while visiting the tourist trap it has become was a little bewildering, but fun, too, with the tasteful placards and quotes from the book along the recreation trail. I got a real kick out of the story, though was sent off balance by the finish. Started The Pearl and was captivated, but ran out of time on this book borrowed from the local library.

Helpful?
Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

Im taking my time wit...

I'm taking my time with this collection and savoring every word. The feel of the collection is wonderful in your hands, and each story is as good as the last. I will try to review as I go. Tortilla Flat is a wonderfully hilarious, saddening, and well written novel. You grow to love each character despite himself. It's amusing to look into the minds of some who are so obviously selfish and completely unaware of themselves, and how they turn their selfishness into what they see as good friendship. In the end though, you can see that they all really love each other and grow as people, and for this reason the end is a bit heartbreaking. The Red Pony will be a tough read for any animal lover, or anyone who doesn't like descriptive scenes of... gore, I suppose, is the right word for it. Nothing that doesn't fit or was thrown in for shock effect, but still a difficult pill to swallow. I feel as though this was an unfinished work, but I don't know for sure. Something about the ending doesn't feel just right. But I do like that Steinbeck hints that the last few years have really led Jody to become closer to manhood. Of Mice & Men is of course a classic. Even if someone doesn't know John Steinbeck from Steven King they will know something about Mice & Men. I first read this in high school and while I remembered I liked it and the jist of the storyline, I had forgotten a lot of it. My mind is no steel trap, especially when it comes to books unfortunately. Re-reading it was just as incredible, if not more so, the second time around. I think this should be recommended reading for everyone in high school, as it is such a raw look at the ups and downs of humanity and existence. The whole cast of characters is so alive and varying and, I know I use this word a lot, realistic. And even the worst people have a shred of humanity in them, of hurt or pain or longing. It's a wonderful, heartbreaking, incredible story for all ages and should be read and re-read. The Moon is Down: Cannery Row: The Pearl:

Helpful?
Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

Im taking my time wit...

I'm taking my time with this collection and savoring every word. The feel of the collection is wonderful in your hands, and each story is as good as the last. I will try to review as I go. Tortilla Flat is a wonderfully hilarious, saddening, and well written novel. You grow to love each character despite himself. It's amusing to look into the minds of some who are so obviously selfish and completely unaware of themselves, and how they turn their selfishness into what they see as good friendship. In the end though, you can see that they all really love each other and grow as people, and for this reason the end is a bit heartbreaking. The Red Pony will be a tough read for any animal lover, or anyone who doesn't like descriptive scenes of... gore, I suppose, is the right word for it. Nothing that doesn't fit or was thrown in for shock effect, but still a difficult pill to swallow. I feel as though this was an unfinished work, but I don't know for sure. Something about the ending doesn't feel just right. But I do like that Steinbeck hints that the last few years have really led Jody to become closer to manhood. Of Mice & Men is of course a classic. Even if someone doesn't know John Steinbeck from Steven King they will know something about Mice & Men. I first read this in high school and while I remembered I liked it and the jist of the storyline, I had forgotten a lot of it. My mind is no steel trap, especially when it comes to books unfortunately. Re-reading it was just as incredible, if not more so, the second time around. I think this should be recommended reading for everyone in high school, as it is such a raw look at the ups and downs of humanity and existence. The whole cast of characters is so alive and varying and, I know I use this word a lot, realistic. And even the worst people have a shred of humanity in them, of hurt or pain or longing. It's a wonderful, heartbreaking, incredible story for all ages and should be read and re-read. The Moon is Down: Cannery Row: The Pearl:

Helpful?
Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

I read The Pearl many ...

I read The Pearl many years ago. Recently I read Of Mice and Men and I think I can see some theatrical/cinematic influence on the writing. I think I might want to pick up Cannery Row next at some point, thinking back to a visit we made a while back to the John Steinbeck museum in Salinas.

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