What Do I Read Next?
Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (1939) is considered his finest work. It describes the plight of migrant workers in California in the 1930s through the story of one family that makes its way to California from Oklahoma.
Like Steinbeck, English romantic poet Lord Byron was inspired by the story of Cain. His dramatic poem “Cain: A Dramatic Mystery in Three Acts” is an attack on Christianity as well as on political and social institutions in nineteenth century England. It can be found in the Oxford World’s Classics series volume edited by Jerome J. McGann and titled Lord Byron: The Major Works (2000).
Americans and the California Dream, 1850–1915 (1986) by Kevin Starr describes the emergence of Californian culture in the second half of the nineteenth century. Starr discusses the California dream from a social, psychological, and symbolic point of view, as well as some of its fallacies and contradictions.
John Steinbeck: A Biography (1994), by Jay Parini, is a thorough, sympathetic biography of the author. Parini conducted many interviews with people who knew Steinbeck, and he also made use of published and unpublished letters, diaries, and manuscripts.