Journal of a Novel

Journal of a Novel

The East of Eden Letters

By John Steinbeck

Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780140144185, 192pp.

Publication Date: December 1990

Each working day from January 29 to November 1, 1951, John Steinbeck warmed up to the work of writing East of Eden with a letter to the late Pascal Covici, his friend and editor at The Viking Press. It was his way, he said, of "getting my mental arm in shape to pitch a good game."

Steinbeck's letters were written on the left-hand pages of a notebook in which the facing pages would be filled with the test of East of Eden. They touched on many subjects story arguments, trial flights of worknamship, concern for his sons.

Part autobiography, part writer's workshop, these letters offer an illuminating perspective on Steinbeck's creative process, and a fascinating glimpse of Steinbeck, the private man.

About the Author
No writer is more quintessentially American than John Steinbeck. Born in 1902 in Salinas, California, Steinbeck attended Stanford University before working at a series of mostly blue-collar jobs and embarking on his literary career. Profoundly committed to social progress, he used his writing to raise issues of labor exploitation and the plight of the common man, penning some of the greatest American novels of the twentieth century and winning such prestigious awards as the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. He received the Nobel Prize in 1962, "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception." Today, more than thirty years after his death, he remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures.

Praise For Journal of a Novel

"Full of insights and revelations involving the gladness and terror of writing." —Chicago Sun-Times

"A sort of Travels with Charley across a more personal country." —The Boston Globe