WORKING DAYS: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath

A pleasant trove of work notes released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of The Grapes of Wrath. Editor DeMott (English/Ohio Univ.) accidentally dug up this brief manuscript material while researching another book on Steinbeck. It's presented here with copious critical apparatus, including introduction, commentary, critical notes, and illustrations (not seen). In fact, there is more spectacle than event to the finished product. Steinbeck's journal "entries" are mostly short, rushed notes exhorting himself to finish the book. They explain little about Grapes, and reinforce the impression of skeptical critics that he mechanically plodded through the novel filling average people with clichÇd speech. More compelling is Steinbeck's anxiety over external obstacles that arose during the book's five-month composition (June-October 1938), which shows him losing almost all control and confidence. He began the journal and novel shortly after the death of his brother-in-law, was constantly bothered by loan-seekers and self-doubt, and worried over everything from Hitler's war maneuvers to the sale of his house. "Did ever a book get written under such excitement," he writes, and collapses into disappointment when finished: ". . .it isn't the great book I had hoped it would be. It's just a run-of-the-mill book." Admirably compiled and annotated by DeMott, and a must for Steinbeck fans, this is an otherwise modest literary treat.

Pub Date: April 14, 1989

ISBN: 0140144579

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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