About this Project 

David M. Wrobel

This website is the work of the students in my spring 2017 upper-division undergraduate course "John Steinbeck’s America." Twenty-five students enrolled in the cross-listed English and History course, including majors in a range of other disciplines such as Biology, Education, Letters, and Psychology. The course focused on the intersections of history and literature, harkening back to Steinbeck’s explanation of The Grapes of Wrath to his agent Elizabeth Otis in early 1938: “I’m trying to write history while it is happening and I don’t want to be wrong.” The students read a wide range of Steinbeck’s fiction and non-fiction, including In Dubious Battle, “The Harvest Gypsies,” Of Mice and MenThe Grapes of WrathThe Moon Is DownCannery Row, and East of Eden, along with selections from The Long ValleyLog from the Sea of CortezBombs Away!Once There Was a WarA Russian JournalSweet ThursdayTravels with CharleyA Life in Letters, and Steinbeck’s Vietnam War dispatches. They wrote papers around relevant themes—Steinbeck’s travels and wartime writing, Oklahoma, “On Stage and Screen,” and East of Eden—and worked in research groups to create web content for each theme. Mette Flynt, a doctoral candidate in history, helped tighten the prose, complete the citations, and ensure consistency of style and layout, and assisted by Paul Vieth, a M.A. student in History of Science, created the Resources and Research page. Sarah Clayton—a University of Oklahoma Libraries staff member who won a national “Mover and Shaker” award recently for her innovative work in supporting digital humanities course initiatives like “John Steinbeck’s America” and "Making Modern America: Rediscovering the Great Depression and New Deal"—trained the students in website construction using Omeka, an open source publishing platform designed to display library, museum, and scholarly collections and exhibits.


Steinbeck Resources and Research


This exhibit serves as a directory for external Steinbeck-related academic resources.

Steinbeck and Oklahoma


Oklahomans reacted strongly to Steinbeck’s depiction of their state in The Grapes of Wrath.

Steinbeck's Travels


This section explores the friendships, cultures, landscapes, and experiences that shaped Steinbeck's extensive body of domestic and international travel writing.

Steinbeck and War


This section explores Steinbeck's time as a war correspondent and the CIA's investigation of him during the Cold War.

Steinbeck on Stage and Screen

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A remarkable number of Steinbeck's works were adapted for stage and screen over the course of more than seventy-five years.

East of Eden


By exploring key themes and characters, this section provides a comprehensive analysis of John Steinbecks's 1952 novel East of Eden.