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FURTHER READING CRITICAL WORKS
Here are some books that deal wholly or in part with the writing of John Steinbeck. You might want to read through several of them to get some added insights into Steinbeck's style and themes and into Of Mice and Men.
Astro, Richard, and Tetsumaro Hayashi. Steinbeck: The Man and His Work. Corvallis, Ore.: Oregon State University Press, 1971.
This is a collection of essays written by members of The John Steinbeck Society and delivered at a conference in 1970. The essays deal with many different aspects of Steinbeck's work. You'll probably be the most interested in "John Steinbeck: A Reminiscence" written by Steinbeck's longtime friend Webster Street (pp. 35-42) and "Escape and Commitment: Two Poles of the Steinbeck Hero" by Peter Lisca (pp. 75-88).
French, Warren. John Steinbeck. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1961. This book is an easy-to-read study of Steinbeck's life and works up to 1960. One chapter is devoted to Of Mice and Men. It also contains a good bibliography of critical works about Steinbeck.
Kazin, Alfred. On Native Grounds. New York: Reynal, 1942. This is a study of American writers of the 1930s by an important literary critic. Kazin is very critical of Of Mice and Men. He feels it is too simple to convey the seriousness of its themes, and too sentimental.
Levant, Howard. The Novels of John Steinbeck: A Critical Study. Columbia, Mo.: University of Missouri Press, 1974.
This study of all the major works of Steinbeck is thorough, but a little difficult to read. Levant is also critical of Of Mice and Men and considers the play-novelette form too limiting for developing complete characters and themes.
Lisca, Peter. John Steinbeck, Nature and Myth. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1978.
This is an interesting, readable study that relates Steinbeck's themes with his style.
_____. The Wide World of John Steinbeck. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1958.
This is a close reading of all of Steinbeck's works up to 1958. It is one of the most famous books on Steinbeck's writing.
Moore, Harry T. The Novels of Steinbeck. Chicago: Normandie House, 1939.
This is the first important study of Steinbeck's life and works. It is valuable because it concentrates on only the early novels, so more attention is given to Of Mice and Men than in later critical works.
Steinbeck, Elaine, and Robert Wallsten. Steinbeck.- A Life in Letters. New York: Viking, 1975.
This is the collected letters of John Steinbeck organized chronologically. Steinbeck wrote lots of letters, and the book is nearly 900 pages long. The letters provide an insight into Steinbeck's feelings and personal life that you won't find anywhere else.
Tedlock, E. W., Jr., and C. V. Wicker, eds. Steinbeck and His Critics, A Record of Twenty-Five Years. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1957.
This is another must for serious study of Steinbeck's writing. The book contains critical essays by Steinbeck on his own writing, and by seventeen other writers commenting on Steinbeck's work.