John Steinbeck Returns to American Literature Lineup (And to San Francisco)

Image of early editions of American writers

Following an absence of four years, John Steinbeck will return to the annual program of the American Literature Association when the organization holds its May 26-29, 2016 conference in San Francisco, the city where Steinbeck spent time as a Stanford student and struggling writer. A coalition of academic societies devoted to American writers from the 18th century to the present, the American Literature Association—like Steinbeck—began in California. It was founded in San Diego, the site of the most recent conference that featured Steinbeck, and its membership includes societies devoted to American writers—Raymond Carver, Percival Everett, Robinson Jeffers, Jack Kerouac, Sinclair Lewis, Jack London, Frank Norris, William Saroyan, Wallace Stegner, Gertrude Stein, John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, Thornton Wilder—with a California connection. “Steinbeck in Salinas and Abroad,” the subject of the May 26 panel organized by the International Society of Steinbeck Scholars, will focus on historical, ethnic, and ethical aspects of Steinbeck’s life and writing. Register at the American Literature Association conference website.

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  1. John Lovejoy says:

    Since when did John Steinbeck enroll in a San Francisco college?

    • Steinbeck spent time in San Francisco during and between semesters as a student at Stanford in Palo Alto. Text has been revised to avoid the ambiguity pointed out in your question. Thank you!

      • Sarah Hand says:

        Hi I am trying to establish any specific places in San Francisco that Steinbeck would have stayed or visited. I’m undertaking a practice based research degree and I’ve traveled to California and New York collecting data, photographing and filming for my PhD. Next January I’m heading to San Francisco and would love to take the opportunity to make some more recordings. I’m from the UK, by the way and making a visual research catalogue based on Steinbeck’s biographical life as opposed to his literature.
        Sarah Hand

        • Jackson Benson’s biography of John Steinbeck remains the acknowledged authority on the writer’s life and can be supplemented by examining Benson’s notes for the book, which are available to scholars and students of Steinbeck in the special collections department at the Stanford University Library in Palo Alto, one hour south of San Francisco.

          • Sarah Hand says:

            Thanks that’s really helpful. I have a lot of biographical material but not Jackson Benson’s. Sounds like that’s the one I need to make the appropriate connections.
            I’ll contact the Stanford University Library in Palo Alto as well to see if I can do some research in advance.
            Best wishes

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