This volume collects a selection of scholarly papers originally presented at the Fourth International Steinbeck Congress. It begins with an introduction by the co-editors--Kevin Hearle and Susan Shillinglaw--discussing the organization of the book. The essays are grouped into four sections: I. Beyond Boundaries (focusing on new contextualizations of Steinbeck's works and on his influences on later writers--including Bruce Springsteen and many Native American novelists), II. Steinbeck as World Citizen (focusing on both Steinbeck's non-U.S. works and influences and on the posthumous international reception of his work), III. Rereading Steinbeck's Women (reconsiderations of Steinbeck's work in light of second generation feminist scholarship), and IV. Steinbeck's Science and Ethics (including a variety of essays analyzing Steinbeck's philosophical and ecological bent, and my own [Kevin Hearle, here] essay on the influence of eugenics on Steinbeck's thinking during the process leading up to The Grapes of Wrath).
Kevin gives an overview of the book:
"The notion that an understanding of science, especially of those branches of biology which have an ecological focus, is important to an appreciation of Steinbeck's works has been a critical commonplace since at least Richard Astro's book on Ed Ricketts's influence on the novelist. Brian Railsback's recent study of Steinbeck and Darwin continues this tradition, praising the influence of science in Steinbeck's writing. When it comes to Darwinism and especially to Darwin's bastard offspring the social Darwinists and the eugenicists, there is much reason to examine both the value of some of the so-called "science" which influenced Steinbeck and the role which such pseudo-science played in Steinbeck's work."
--from "'These Are American People': The Spectre of Eugenics in Their Blood Is Strong and The Grapes of Wrath" by Kevin Hearle
I am a 5th generation Californian, descended from '49ers who headed south in 1870. My great-great grandfather was the first doctor in Santa Ana. I was born in Santa Ana and raised there and in Irvine. I moved to Northern California to attend Stanford University and become a...