Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hmm ...

... Whitewashing John Steinbeck - (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Steinbeck either made these edits himself or approved them. Either way, the book is as he chose it to be. Certainly an author has the right to shape his books as he chooses. These edits seem also to have made it into a better book.  Maybe Steinbeck knew that. 


  1. First, how widely held is the Travels with Charlie myth? I know a lot of people who read a lot, and I bet maybe a quarter have heard of or read it.


    "lso excised from Steinbeck’s original manuscript was a paragraph of racist and offensive language drawn from Steinbeck’s encounter with a group of white female protesters outside of a recently integrated school in New Orleans. Disgusted by the hatred and annoyed that the national news media of the day censored the women’s crude language, Steinbeck was eager to expose their statements. But the paragraph detailing their ugly hate was cut from the published version of the book and virtually no one has seen it in half a century. By cooperating with his publisher to suppress the disturbing truth about segregation, Steinbeck inadvertently abetted the system’s continuance."

    Balderdash. He made it clear that that were uttering hateful words, and doing it for the benefit of the TV cameras--he referred to it as a modern coven. I doubt that chapter and verse would have changed the impact.

    Finally, what were JFK's character flaw that troubled Steinbeck? If he idolized Stevenson, a bit of sleeping around could hardly have bothered him.

  2. Your observation, Frank, is on the mark. This fellow Steigerwald seems to be out to make a name for himself.