About This Author

John Steinbeck

Steinbeck in Sweden during his trip to accept the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962
Steinbeck in Sweden during his trip to accept the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962

Born

John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. February 27, 1902 Salinas, California, U.S.

Died

December 20, 1968 New York City, U.S.

Occupation

Novelist, short story writer, war correspondent

Notable works

Of Mice and MenThe Grapes of WrathEast of Eden

Notable awards

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Nobel Prize in Literature

Spouses

Carol Henning ( m.  1930; div.  1943)
Gwyn Conger ( m.  1943; div.  1948)
Elaine Scott ( m.  1950)

Children

Thomas Steinbeck John Steinbeck IV

Signature

John Ernst Steinbeck Jr. was an American author. He won the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception." He has been called "a giant of American letters," and many of his works are considered classics of Western literature.

During his writing career, he authored 27 books, including 16 novels, six non-fiction books, and two collections of short stories. He is widely known for the comic novels Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row , the multi-generation epic East of Eden , and the novellas Of Mice and Men and The Red Pony . The Pulitzer Prize-winning The Grapes of Wrath is considered Steinbeck's masterpiece and part of the American literary canon. In the first 75 years after it was published, it sold 14 million copies.

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Discover John Steinbeck Quotes and Sayings

No man really knows about other human beings. The best he can do is to suppose that they are like himself. - John Steinbeck

No man really knows about other human beings. The best he can do is to suppose that they are like himself.

John Steinbeck

best
The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business. - John Steinbeck

The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.

John Steinbeck

business
Men do change, and change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn, and it comes like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass. - John Steinbeck

Men do change, and change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn, and it comes like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass.

John Steinbeck

change men
Unless a reviewer has the courage to give you unqualified praise, I say ignore the b-----d. - John Steinbeck

Unless a reviewer has the courage to give you unqualified praise, I say ignore the b-----d.

John Steinbeck

courage
It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure on the world. - John Steinbeck

It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure on the world.

John Steinbeck

death
It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it. - John Steinbeck

It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.

John Steinbeck

experience morning wisdom
It has always seemed strange to me... the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second. - John Steinbeck

It has always seemed strange to me... the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.

John Steinbeck

failure love men success
Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts... perhaps the fear of a loss of power. - John Steinbeck

Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts... perhaps the fear of a loss of power.

John Steinbeck

fear power
I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit. - John Steinbeck

I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.

John Steinbeck

great teacher
It has always been my private conviction that any man who puts his intelligence up against a fish and loses had it coming. - John Steinbeck

It has always been my private conviction that any man who puts his intelligence up against a fish and loses had it coming.

John Steinbeck

intelligence
A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it. - John Steinbeck

A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.

John Steinbeck

marriage
A sad soul can kill quicker than a germ. - John Steinbeck

A sad soul can kill quicker than a germ.

John Steinbeck

sad
Many a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceased. - John Steinbeck

Many a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceased.

John Steinbeck

time
Where does discontent start? You are warm enough, but you shiver. You are fed, yet hunger gnaws you. You have been loved, but your yearning wanders in new fields. And to prod all these there's time, the B-----d Time. - John Steinbeck

Where does discontent start? You are warm enough, but you shiver. You are fed, yet hunger gnaws you. You have been loved, but your yearning wanders in new fields. And to prod all these there's time, the B-----d Time.

John Steinbeck

time
Sectional football games have the glory and the despair of war, and when a Texas team takes the field against a foreign state, it is an army with banners. - John Steinbeck

Sectional football games have the glory and the despair of war, and when a Texas team takes the field against a foreign state, it is an army with banners.

John Steinbeck

war
Man, unlike anything organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments. - John Steinbeck

Man, unlike anything organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments.

John Steinbeck

work