John Steinbeck's East of Eden was published for the first time by Viking Press in September 1952, ten years before the writer was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The novel was originally addressed to Steinbeck's young sons, Thom and John IV.
East of Eden begins in 1862 and covers three generations and 56 years. The book ends in Salinas, California, in 1918.
Steinbeck said of East of Eden: “All novels, all poetry, are built on the never-ending contest in ourselves of good and evil.”
As Steinbeck progressed through the early chapters, he noted that his voice would be more apparent in this book than in any other because he wanted it to contain everything he remembered to be true. He would be in this one and not “for one moment pretend not to be.”
The novel begins with a full chapter devoted to the description of the heritage and geography of the Salinas Valley in California, the setting for the story. The author is the narrator of the story and the grandson of the first main character, Samuel Hamilton. The author is the narrator (I checked Steinbeck's own notes on the novel), in terms of how to describe that you could call it omniscient narration or autobiographical narration. Steinbeck wanted one family to represent a "universal family" and another to represent "universal neighbours"