A COMPANION TO THE GRAPES OF WRATH by Warren- Ed. French

A COMPANION TO THE GRAPES OF WRATH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A collection of essays, articles and reviews, of varying quality and mostly out of the ""morgue"", concerning pro and con aspects of The Grapes of Wrath from social, cultural and journalistic perspectives. The editor, Warren French, offers on all of these documents, interlocking commentaries, which though enormously conscientious are ot particularly bracing, and appends an appreciation of his own, equally slack, as to the novel's enduring excellence. The form of reference throughout is the troubled thirties, with side swipes at the satisfied sixties. The Companion scans Steinbeck's celebrated saga of the Okies from several angles, including some scientific stuff on the Dust Bowl storms as a geological phenomenon, the sufferings of migratory labor first-hand observations from Fortune and Carey McWilliams), the political tempers triggered in Oklahoma and California, and finally a recapitulation of the novel's original reception and its current critical status. As to the latter, by and large it's deemed a middlebrow classic, but one dissident highbrow, represented here, in piky, spirited language calls the book, among other things, a Wagons West Romance. There's also a long-out-of-print Steinbeck pamphlet- often moving; if often tag-inish: ""Must the hunger become anger and the anger fury before anything will be done""- which written in 1938 discusses the dispossessed and discriminated against tenant farmers. The Companion has been designed especially for college and high school students for whom Grapes is required reading. In those precincts, the Companion, like Grapes, should prove palpable indeed.

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 1963
Publisher: Viking