The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939) | Books | The Guardian

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 00.33.13.png

The Grapes of Wrath grew out of a series of newspaper articles on the California migrant workers entitled The Harvest Gypsies that Steinbeck published in the San Francisco News (illustrated with photographs by Dorothea Lange) from 5 to 12 October, 1936. Writing at the height of the Depression, Steinbeck was on fire with his subject. Like some of the greatest novels in this series, the book was written in a white heat. He said, “I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible [for the Great Depression].” The novel – 200,000 words on 165 cramped, handwritten pages in a 12in x 18in lined ledger book – was completed in five months at the rate of 2,000 words a day. “Never worked so hard in my life nor so long before,” he told a friend. It was, said Steinbeck, his ambition to “rip a reader’s nerves to rags” from page to page. To achieve added drama and tempo, he borrowed the jump-cut technique of Dos Passos’ USA trilogy (No 58 in this series). At his wife Carol’s suggestion, he took his title from The Battle Hymn of the Republic by Julia Ward Howe: “Mine Eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the lord/ He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored…”

via The 100 best novels: No 65 – The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939) | Books | The Guardian

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s