cover image Working Days: The Journals of the Grapes of Wrath

Working Days: The Journals of the Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck, Author Viking Books $18.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-670-80845-8

While writing his greatest novel in 1938, Steinbeck kept a journal that chronicled his torments, self-doubts, late and false starts, reversals and other struggles to achieve his goal. There are references to his typist-wife Carol Henning, his agent Elizabeth Otis, his publisher Pascal Covici and to the documentary filmmaker Pare Lorentz, whose style strongly influenced the structure of Steinbeck's novel. Entry #100, 26 October 1938, ends, ``Finished this dayand I hope to God it's good.'' Another 21 entries deal with the aftermath, to January 1941. The repetitiveness and at times boring nature of the journal may deter general readers, who will, however, appreciate the extensive introduction, comments, notes and annotations of DeMott, professor of English at Ohio University. (Apr.)