Looking for Steinbeck's Ghost

Jackson J. Benson, Author University of Oklahoma Press $82.95 (231p) ISBN 978-0-8061-2155-0
Benson's haphazard, self-indulgent chronicle is mostly about how he spent 15 years researching and writing an authorized biography of John Steinbeck. On that level, it offers instructive commentary on the pitfalls of the biographer's craft, as the author interviews the novelist's ex-wives, digs for lost correspondence, evaluates evidence and tracks down material on the migrant worker who supplied Steinbeck with much of his information for The Grapes of Wrath. A professor of English at San Diego State University, Benson is sometimes acerbic in recounting his dealings with rival biographers, publishing lawyers and copy editors. He notes that Steinbeck preached ecology and condemned a false sense of progress as early as the mid-1930s, but disagrees with critics who feel Steinbeck's fiction declined after the populist The Grapes of Wrath , arguing that they unfairly want his novels to fit their own left-leaning political scheme. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
Paperback - 231 pages - 978-0-87417-497-7
Open Ebook - 239 pages - 978-0-585-15358-2
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