“The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.”
“The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true.”
“These words dropped into my childish mind as if you should accidentally drop a ring into a deep well. I did not think of them much at the time, but there came a day in my life when the ring was fished up out of the well, good as new.”
“A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.”
“I’ve seen a look in dogs’ eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts.
“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”
“In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable.”
- Born: 27 February 1902
- Birthplace: Salinas, California
- Died: 20 December 1968 (arteriosclerosis)
- Best Known As: Author of The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck was one of the best-known American novelists of the mid-20th century. His frequent topic was the plight of the misfits, the homeless and the hopeless in a fast-changing America. (Those themes sometimes earned him comparisons with his contemporary William Faulkner.) Steinbeck’s first novel, Cup of Gold, was published in 1929. His most celebrated book remains The Grapes of Wrath: the story of the Joads, impoverished farmers who migrate to California after losing their Oklahoma land. Published in 1939, The Grapes of Wrath won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. (Henry Fonda played Tom Joad in the 1940 film of the novel.) Steinbeck’s other books include Of Mice and Men (1937), Cannery Row (1945) and East of Eden (1952, later made into a film starring James Dean). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.
Steinbeck wrote the story for the 1944 Alfred Hitchcock film Lifeboat.