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A Life In Letters
About the book
  • Published: 25 January 1999
  • ISBN: 9780141923048
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 528

A Life In Letters


Formats & editions


Nobel Prize-winner John Steinbeck was a prolific correspondent. Opening with letters written during Steinbeck's early years in California, and closing with an unfinished, 1968 note written in Sag Harbor, New York, this collection of around 850 letters to friends, family, his editor and a diverse circle of well-known and influential public figures gives an insight into the raw creative processes of one of the most naturally-gifted and hard-working writing minds of this century.

  • Pub date: 25 January 1999
  • ISBN: 9780141923048
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 528

About the Authors

F Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896 -1940) is widely considered the poet laureate of the Jazz Age. He wrote many short stories and four novels, This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and the Damned, Tender is the Night and The Great Gatsby. An unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon, was published posthumously.

F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in 1896 in St Paul, Minnesota, and went to Princeton University, which he left in 1917 to join the army. He was said to have epitomized the Jazz Age, which he himself defined as 'a generation grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken'. In 1920 he married Zelda Sayre. Their traumatic marriage and her subsequent breakdowns became the leading influence on his writing. Among his publications were five novels, This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and the Damned, Tender is the Night and The Last Tycoon (his last and unfinished work); six volumes of short stories and The Crack Up, a selection of autobiographical pieces.

Fitzgerald died suddenly in 1940. After his death The New York Times said of him that 'He was better than he knew, for in fact and in the literary sense he invented a 'generation'. . . he might have interpreted and even guided them, as in their midle years they saw a different and nobler freedom threatened with destruction.'

John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, in 17 February 1902. After studying English at Stanford University, he held several jobs including working as a hod-carrier, apprentice painter, laboratory assistant, ranch hand, fruit-picker, construction worker at Madison Square Gardens, New York, and reporter for the New York American. In 1935 he became a full-time writer and was a special writer for the United States Army Air Force during World War II.

Among his most renowned works are Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row, East of Eden and The Grapes of Wrath, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940.

In 1926 Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature as a mark of his outstanding contribution to literature, his unquestionable popularity and his versatility. In his speech accepting the Nobel Prize, Steinbeck gave his view of authorship: 'The ancient omission of the writer has not changed. He is charged with exposing our may grevious faults and failures, with dredging up to the light our dark and dangerous dreams for the purpose of improvement. Furthermore, 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.'

John Steinbeck died on 20th December 1968.


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