Astro, Richard, and Tetsumaro Hayashi, eds. Steinbeck: The Man and His Work. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 1971. One of the first full-length works published after Steinbeck’s death, this superb collection of essays presents opinions which regard Steinbeck as everything from a mere proletarian novelist to an artist with a deep vision of humans’ essential dignity.
Benson, Jackson D. The True Adventures of John Steinbeck, Writer. New York: Viking Press, 1984. This biography emphasizes Steinbeck’s rebellion against critical conventions and his attempts to keep his private life separate from his role as public figure. Benson sees Steinbeck as a critical anomaly, embarrassed and frustrated by his growing critical and popular success.
DeMott, Robert J., ed. Steinbeck’s Typewriter: Essays on His Art. Troy, N.Y.: Whitston, 1996. A good collection of criticism of Steinbeck. Includes bibliographical references and an index.
Fontenrose, Joseph. John Steinbeck: An Introduction and Interpretation. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1963. A good introduction, this book discusses some of the symbolism inherent in much of Steinbeck’s fiction and contains some insightful observations on Steinbeck’s concept of the “group-man”—that is, the individual as a unit in the larger sociobiological organism.
French, Warren. John Steinbeck’s Fiction Revisited. New York: Twayne, 1994. The chapter on The Long Valley in this revision of French’s earlier Twayne book on Steinbeck provides brief discussions of the major stories, including “Flight” and “Chrysanthemums.”
George, Stephen K., ed. John Steinbeck: A Centennial Tribute. New York: Praeger, 2002. A collection of reminiscences from Steinbeck’s family and friends as well as wide-ranging critical assessments of his works.
Hayashi, Tetsumaro, ed. Steinbeck’s Short Stories in “The Long Valley”: Essays in Criticism. Muncie, Ind.: Steinbeck Research Institution, 1991. A collection of new critical essays on the stories in The Long Valley (excluding The Red Pony), from a variety of critical perspectives.
Hughes, R. S. John Steinbeck: A Study of the Short Fiction. New York: Twayne, 1989. A general introduction to Steinbeck’s short fiction, focusing primarily on critical reception to the stories. Also includes some autobiographical statements on short-story writing, as well as four essays on Steinbeck’s stories by other critics.
Johnson, Claudia Durst, ed. Understanding “Of Mice and Men,” “The Red Pony,” and “The Pearl”: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1997. This casebook contains historical, social, and political materials as a context for Steinbeck’s three novellas. Contexts included are California and the West, land ownership, the male worker, homelessness, and oppression of the poor in Mexico.
McCarthy, Paul. John Steinbeck. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1980. Though much of this study is a recapitulation of earlier critical views, the book has the virtues of clarity and brevity and contains a fairly thorough bibliography.
McElrath, Joseph R., Jr., Jesse S. Crisler, and Susan Shillinglaw, eds. John Steinbeck: The Contemporary Reviews. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996. A fine selection of reviews of Steinbeck’s work.
Noble, Donald R. The Steinbeck Question: New Essays in Criticism. Troy, N.Y.: Whitston Publishing, 1993. A collection of essays on most of Steinbeck’s work; most important for a study of the short story is the essay by Robert S. Hughes, Jr., on “The Art of Story Writing,” Charlotte Hadella’s “Steinbeck’s Cloistered Women,” and Michael J. Meyer’s “The Snake.”
Parini, Jay. John Steinbeck: A Biography. New York: Henry Holt, 1995. This biography suggests psychological interpretations of the effect of Steinbeck’s childhood and sociological interpretations of his fiction. Criticizes Steinbeck for his politically incorrect gender and social views; also takes Steinbeck to task to what he calls his blindness to the political reality of the Vietnam War.
Steinbeck, Elaine, and Robert Wallsten. Steinbeck: A Life in Letters. New York: Viking Press, 1975. An indispensable source for the Steinbeck scholar, this collection of letters written by Steinbeck between 1929 and his death forty years later shows a writer both well read and well disciplined. Those letters to his friend and publisher, Pascal Covici, shed light on the writer’s working methods and are particularly revealing.
Timmerman, John H. The Dramatic Landscape of Steinbeck’s Short Stories. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990. A formalist interpretation of Steinbeck’s stories, focusing on style, tone, imagery, and character. Provides close readings of such frequently anthologized stories as “The Chrysanthemums” and “Flight,” as well as such stories as “Johnny Bear” and “The Short-Short Story of Mankind.”