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Cultural Center

John Steinbeck's Americas

John Steinbeck
Photograph by Hans Namuth, courtesy of the estate of Hans Namuth.

A Centennial Conference which took place

March 21, 22, 23, 2002

Cooperating Institutions:

Center for Steinbeck Studies at San José State University,
John Steinbeck Society of Japan

John Steinbeck declared he was "... inspired by curiosity, impatience, some anger and a passionate love of America and Americans."

In his last book, America and Americans, John Steinbeck wrote of his country: "America - complicated, paradoxical, bullheaded, shy, cruel, boisterous, unspeakably dear, and very beautiful." Throughout his career, his vision for America was international in scope, for he sought to comprehend - in fiction, in journalism, drama and film scripts - his country, his continent and his world. When he wrote The Grapes of Wrath, he observed that there is only one reason for writing - "to help people understand one another." In 2002, the centenary of his birth, readers, enthusiasts and scholars in all disciplines explored topics related to Steinbeck's vision of America and the Americas - as more than a third of his work is either set in Mexico or features Mexican characters.

Some of the topics which were discussed at John Steinbeck's Americas included "Steinbeck and America at War," "Environmental Perspectives," "The Grapes of Wrath," "The Worlds of Winter," "Perspectives During the Cold War Years," and "Steinbeck's Moral Vision."

As part of John Steinbeck's Americas, the Hofstra Cultural Center and Hofstra USA Productions presented a concert version of the rarely produced Pipe Dream, by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II, based on the novel, Sweet Thursday, by John Steinbeck. Performances were March 21-23, 2002 in Monroe Lecture Center Theater.

For more information about John Steinbeck's Americas please contact:

Hofstra Cultural Center
200 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549
Tel: (516) 463-5669
Fax: (516) 463-4793
Send a Email

Conference Co-Directors:

Ruth Prigozy
Professor of English
Hofstra University

Susan Shillinglaw
Professor of English and
Director of the Center for Steinbeck Studies
San Jose State University

Conference Coordinator:

Natalie Datlof
Executive Director
Hofstra Cultural Center