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Steinbeck John : Working Days Paperback – 13 Dec 1990

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; Reprint edition (13 Dec. 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140144579
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140144574
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 262,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

No writer is more quintessentially American than John Steinbeck. Born in 1902 in Salinas, California, Steinbeck attended Stanford University before working at a series of mostly blue-collar jobs and embarking on his literary career. Profoundly committed to social progress, he used his writing to raise issues of labor exploitation and the plight of the common man, penning some of the greatest American novels of the twentieth century and winning such prestigious awards as the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. He received the Nobel Prize in 1962, "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception." Today, more than thirty years after his death, he remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures.

Robert DeMott is the Edwin and Ruth Kennedy Distinguished Professor of English at Ohio University in Athens. His recent books include "Steinbeck's Typewriter: Essays on His Art" (1996), "Dave Smith: A Literary Archive" (2000), and "The Weather in Athens" (2001).


Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Spider Monkey HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
`Working Days', as it's title suggests, is a diary written during the writing of Steinbeck masterpiece `The Grapes of Wrath'. This also covers the period afterwards when he is dealing with the praise and political backlash and trying to start writing again. This has an extensive introduction by the editor, as well as a commentary at the start of each section and each diary entry has notes on some of the more obscure references. These notes were in the back and I spent the whole book flicking back and forth and it may have been better to include them as footnotes. That aside, they did clarify certain points very well for me. This diary shows Steinbeck's working method, as well as his day to day life and his fears, paranoia and frustration with writing this novel. The writing style is very staccato and he admits he only used the diary to get his daily writing flowing (he used to write letters for the same purpose) and this has some, but much less, of the beauty of his novels. Instead it is a raw rendering of his emotional state during this exhausting book creation. This has some photos in the middle that show some of the manuscript pages, people mentioned in the book, as well as the house he wrote the novel in and they make for an interesting glimpse into his world. All in all this is a fascinating, but slightly dry, look at Steinbeck's inner world and is only of real interest to huge fans or scholars.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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Format: Paperback
This journal of Steinbeck's progress through Grapes of Wrath gives an inside view of what was on his mind when writing the novel. Interesting to see what Grapes of Wrath looked like from the inside out.
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Format: Hardcover
Having read the journal of East of Eden, this seems comparatively short and to-the-point, None of the musings contained in EoE and Steinbeck's voice and thoughts do not come through nearly as strongly. Disappointed from a personal point of view. As a piece of reference it was relatively useful with a number of quotations used in the final draft of my dissertation. As a piece of personal interest give it a miss, but as a point of reference it has value.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not as exciting as I thought it would be but interesting nonetheless.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9edcb798) out of 5 stars 22 reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e0a61f8) out of 5 stars A journal of a masterpiece getting written 2 Jan. 2001
By C. Ebeling - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Working Days is for Steinbeck readers or any student of creative processes and habits of successful people. John Steinbeck wrote the beefy The Grapes of Wrath like a freight train, averaging 2,000 words a day in longhand, from June through October, 1938. He did not do this in isolation. He got up an average of five days a week, had breakfast, wrote in his journal, then went to work until early evening, while hammers from neighborhood construction pounded relentlessly, amid human intrusions of all kinds, a souring stomach and self doubt. He was a purposeful journal-keeper, using it to set the goals for the day, to talk himself into character development and plot movement. No doubt the journal also served to subconsiously swat away the distractions so he could focus on the work. Working Days is edited by Robert Demott who has seemingly devoted his career to the meticulous scrutiny of Steinbeck's life, works and habits. If there can be a criticism of this volume, it's that Demott hovers too much; his is, for instance, one of the longest critical introductions I've come across. But this does not detract from the enjoyment of crawling around in Steinbeck's mind, which the journal freely permits.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa152be58) out of 5 stars great book from a great writer 31 Mar. 2001
By Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you enjoyed reading Grapes of Wrath, or any other books by Steinbeck...get this book. If you want to follow a writer through the process of creating an important novel, get this book. The daily journal entries written by Steinbeck show the ebb and flow of his moods, his confidence that he was indeed writing a great book, and those days when he felt that he lacked the talent to pull it off. It is rare to get the opportunity to watch an artist create....this is pretty darn close. And a good read!
32 of 41 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa16171ec) out of 5 stars Interesting, but not Insightful 11 April 2001
By Rich Duprey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I found this work diary of Steinbeck to be far less informative than I had imagined it would be. Aside from his daily ruminations that he was unsure if "Grapes" would be a good book, there was little revealed as to his creative process. How did he create his characters? Why did he use certain plot devices? Where did his inspirations come from? All this was lacking.
If you read Christopher Tolkien's works on his father's "Lord of the Rings," you see the work created before you. You can see how a character developed, how a plot changed. In "Working Days" there is none of that. It is simply repetitive admonitions to himself to work harder. It became tedious and a great many times I wondered if the editor had simply repeated previous entries and only changed their number.
"Working Days" is interesting, but don't be fooled into thinking you are going to be there at the birth of a great novel.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e0a6630) out of 5 stars Interesting and enjoyable look inside Steinbeck 17 Dec. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This journal of Steinbeck's progress through Grapes of Wrath gives an inside view of what was on his mind when writing the novel. Interesting to see what Grapes of Wrath looked like from the inside out.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1617084) out of 5 stars Working Days 9 Jan. 2011
By Spider Monkey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
`Working Days', as it's title suggests, is a diary written during the writing of Steinbeck masterpiece `The Grapes of Wrath'. This also covers the period afterwards when he is dealing with the praise and political backlash and trying to start writing again. This has an extensive introduction by the editor, as well as a commentary at the start of each section and each diary entry has notes on some of the more obscure references. These notes were in the back and I spent the whole book flicking back and forth and it may have been better to include them as footnotes. That aside, they did clarify certain points very well for me. This diary shows Steinbeck's working method, as well as his day to day life and his fears, paranoia and frustration with writing this novel. The writing style is very staccato and he admits he only used the diary to get his daily writing flowing (he used to write letters for the same purpose) and this has some, but much less, of the beauty of his novels. Instead it is a raw rendering of his emotional state during this exhausting book creation. This has some photos in the middle that show some of the manuscript pages, people mentioned in the book, as well as the house he wrote the novel in and they make for an interesting glimpse into his world. All in all this is a fascinating, but slightly dry, look at Steinbeck's inner world and is only of real interest to huge fans or scholars.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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