The result of a worldwide effort to assess both the current state of critical understanding of John Steinbeck’s works and the extent of his cultural influence As a writer who, beginning in the 1930s, illuminated the lives of ordinary people, Steinbeck came to be the conscience of America. He witnessed and recorded with clarity much of the political and social upheaval of the 20th century: The Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, and Vietnam. Yet his place in the literary canon of American literature has been much debated and often dismissed by academics. Beyond Boundaries argues persuasively for Steinbeck's relevance, offering a fuller, more nuanced and international appreciation of the popular Nobel laureate and his works.
Topics treated in these wide-ranging essays include the historical and literary contexts and the artistic influence of the eminent novelist; the reception and translation of Steinbeck works outside the United States; Steinbeck’s worldview, his social vision, and his treatment of poverty, of self, and of patriotism; influence on Native American writers; the centrality of the archetypal feminine throughout his fiction; and the author's lifelong interest in science and philosophy.
International in scope, this timely study reevaluates the enduring and evolving legacy of one of America's most significant writers.
Contents Acknowledgments ix Introduction: Rereading John Steinbeck Susan Shillinglaw and Kevin Hearle 1 I. Beyond Boundaries 1. Come Back to the Boxcar, Leslie Honey: Or, Don’t Cry For Me, Madonna, Just Pass the Milk: Steinbeck and Sentimentality John Seelye 11 2. The Ghost of Tom Joad: Steinbeck’s Legacy in the Songs of Bruce Springsteen Gavin Cologne-Brookes 34 3. Changing Perceptions of Homelessness: John Steinbeck, Carey McWilliams, and California during the 1930s Christina Sheehan Gold 47 4. Steinbeck’s “Self-characters” as 1930s Underdogs Warren G. French 66 5. Propaganda and Persuasion in John Steinbeck’s The Moon Is Down Rodney P. Rice 77 6. Steinbeck’s Influence upon Native American Writers Paul and Charlotte Hadella 87 II. Steinbeck as World Citizen 7. Cannery Row and the Japanese Mentality Hiroshi Kaname 101 8. “Consonant Symphonies”: John Steinbeck in the Indus Valley P. Balaswamy 107 9. Living In(tension)ally: Steinbeck’s The Log from the Sea of Cortez as a Reflection of the Balance Advocated in Lao Tze’s Tao Teh Ching Michael J. Meyer 117 10. Recent Steinbeck Dramatic Adaptations in Japan Hiromasa Takamura 130 11. Staging Tortilla Flat: Steinbeck in a Thai Context Malithat Promathatavedi 140 12. Novella into Play: Burning Bright Kiyoshi Nakayama 151 13. Beyond France: Steinbeck’s The Short Reign of Pippin IV Christine Rucklin 162 14. “The Capacity for Peace—The Culmination of All the Others”: The Internationalism of John Steinbeck and Narrational Technique John Ditsky 171 III. Rereading Steinbeck’s Women 15. Beyond the Boundaries of Sexism: The Archetypal Feminine versus Anima Women in Steinbeck’s Novels Lorelei Cederstrom 189 16. Of Mice and Men: Creating and Re-creating Curley’s Wife Mimi Reisel Gladstein 205 17. Beyond Evil: Cathy and Cal in East of Eden Carol L. Hansen 221 18. Cathy in East of Eden: Indispensable to the Thematic Design Kyoko Ariki 230 IV. Steinbeck’s Science and Ethics 19. These Are American People: The Spectre of Eugenics in Their Blood Is Strong and The Grapes of Wrath Kevin Hearle 243 20. The Global Appeal of Steinbeck’s Science: The Animal-Human Connections James C. Kelley 255 21. The Philosophical Mind of John Steinbeck: Virtue Ethics and His Later Fiction Stephen K. George 266 22. Dreams of an Elegant Universe on Cannery Row Brian Railsback 277 23. The Place We Have Arrived: On Writing/Reading toward Cannery Row Robert DeMott 295 Notes 315 Bibliography 327 Contributors 345 Index 353
Susan Shillinglaw is Professor of English and Director of the Center for Steinbeck Studies at San Jose State University and has coedited Steinbeck and the Enviroment: Interdisciplinary Approaches.
Kevin Hearle is a Lecturer in English at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California, and with Peter Lisca edited “The Grapes of Wrath”: Text and Criticism.
“[Beyond Boundaries] deserves the highest praise and is a must read for anyone interested in Steinbeck studies or modern American Literature.” —The Steinbeck Review
“This book takes Steinbeck criticism beyond the frozen boundaries of the past and pushes out over boundaries in many different directions. It shows Steinbeck as an explorer of form and a far more profound thinker than he has been credited to be. It refutes the clichés of criticism and takes us into new territory.” —Jackson J. Benson, San Diego State University