LITERATURE: John Steinbeck 1962 - Salinas, CA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Metro2
N 36° 40.594 W 121° 39.555
10S E 619801 N 4059831
Quick Description: Located at: 132 Central Ave., Salinas, California
Location: California, United States
Date Posted: 11/9/2015 9:48:37 PM
Waymark Code: WMPYAP
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 4

Long Description:
This plaque is located at the entrance to John Steinbeck's childhood home in Salinas. It reads:

"132 Central Avenue

— Salinas, California —

This beautiful Victorian was built by merchant J. J. Conner in 1897, and sold at the turn of the century to John Ernst and Olive Hamilton Steinbeck. On February 27,1902 John Steinbeck was born in what is now the reception room. He remained a resident of the house until he left for Stanford University at age 17, returning home at various times. He wrote his first short stories and the novels "The Red Pony" and "Tortilla Flat" from behind the upstairs front window.

John Steinbeck was honored with the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for the "Grapes of Wrath" in 1940, and the Nobel prize in literature in 1962.

In 1973 the Valley Guild, a group of prominate women, purchased the house to preserve this literary landmark.

Dedicated by the Monterey Viejo Chapter 1846
E Clampus Vitus
April 22, 1995"

Wikipedia (visit link) adds:

"Nobel Prize

In 1962, Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for literature for his "realistic and imaginative writing, combining as it does sympathetic humor and keen social perception." The selection was heavily criticized, and described as "one of the Academy's biggest mistakes" in one Swedish newspaper. The reaction of American literary critics was also harsh. The New York Times asked why the Nobel committee gave the award to an author whose "limited talent is, in his best books, watered down by tenth-rate philosophising", noting that "[T]he international character of the award and the weight attached to it raise questions about the mechanics of selection and how close the Nobel committee is to the main currents of American writing.... [W]e think it interesting that the laurel was not awarded to a writer ... whose significance, influence and sheer body of work had already made a more profound impression on the literature of our age". Steinbeck himself, when asked on the day of the announcement if he deserved the Nobel, replied: "Frankly, no." Biographer Jackson Benson notes, "[T]his honor was one of the few in the world that one could not buy nor gain by political maneuver. It was precisely because the committee made its judgment ... on its own criteria, rather than plugging into 'the main currents of American writing' as defined by the critical establishment, that the award had value." In his acceptance speech later in the year in Stockholm, he said:

the writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man's proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit—for gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally flags of hope and of emulation. I hold that a writer who does not believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature.

In 2012, (50 years later), the Nobel Prize opened its archives and it was revealed that Steinbeck was a "compromise choice" among a shortlist consisting of Steinbeck, British authors Robert Graves and Lawrence Durrell, French dramatist Jean Anouilh and Danish author Karen Blixen. The declassified documents showed that he was chosen as the best of a bad lot, "There aren't any obvious candidates for the Nobel prize and the prize committee is in an unenviable situation," wrote committee member Henry Olsson. Although the committee believed Steinbeck's best work was behind him by 1962, committee member Anders Österling believed the release of his new novel The Winter of Our Discontent in 1961 showed that "after some signs of slowing down in recent years, [Steinbeck has] regained his position as a social truth-teller [and is an] authentic realist fully equal to his predecessors Sinclair Lewis and Ernest Hemingway."

Although modest about his own talent as a writer, Steinbeck talked openly of his own admiration of certain writers. In 1953, he wrote that he considered cartoonist Al Capp, creator of the satirical Li'l Abner, "possibly the best writer in the world today." At his own first Nobel Prize press conference he was asked his favorite authors and works and replied: "Hemingway's short stories and nearly everything Faulkner wrote."

In September 1964, Steinbeck was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

In 1967, at the behest of Newsday magazine, Steinbeck went to Vietnam to report on the war there. Thinking of the Vietnam War as a heroic venture, he was considered a hawk for his position on that war. His sons both served in Vietnam prior to his death, and Steinbeck visited one son in the battlefield (at one point being allowed to man a machine-gun watch position at night at a firebase, while his son and other members of his platoon slept)."
Field of Accomplishment: Literature

Year of Award: 1962

Primary Relevant Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Relevant Web Site: Not listed

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