John Steinbeck and Edward F. Ricketts: The Shaping of a Novelist

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9780972197403: John Steinbeck and Edward F. Ricketts: The Shaping of a Novelist

Edward F. Ricketts, a marine biologist who lived on the Monterey waterfront in California, was a close friend of John Steinbeck, the novelist. As Professor Astro makes clear, no analysis of Steinbeck’s writing can proceed without a careful study of the life, work, and ideas of Ricketts, who was Steinbeck’s closest personal and intellectual companion for nearly two decades.

Ricketts went to California from Chicago in 1923, and from that time until his death in 1948 he operated a biological supply house at Pacific Grove. Steinbeck and Ricketts met in 1930 and struck an immediate friendship. Together they planned a handbook on the marine invertebrates of the San Francisco Bay region. Although this project was never carried out, it paved the way for another venture, a collecting expedition to the Gulf of California which resulted in their collaboration on Sea of Cortez: A Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research, the published record of that trip. As Professor Astro points out, Ricketts served, in varying degrees, as the source of characters in six of Steinbeck’s novels and novelettes and one short story. Perhaps more importantly, the author shows that many of Steinbeck’s central thematic tenets were provided by Ricketts’ passion for holistic and ecological thinking, his associational beliefs about the behavior of men and animals in groups, and his disdain for the acquisition of material wealth. But, he warns, "to say that all of Steinbeck’s concern with science in general and with marine biology in particular came directly from Ricketts is to distort the facts."

By analyzing the range and depth of Ricketts’ impact on Steinbeck’s fiction, this book places a major writer in fresh perspective.

Richard Astro is an associate professor of English at Oregon State University.

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From the Publisher:

It is with great pleasure that Western Flyer Publishing introduces a new issue of Professor Richard Astro’s fine book, John Steinbeck and Edward F. Ricketts The Shaping of a Novelist. Without the knowledge contained within these pages, one can not properly assess or, for that matter, appreciate the writings of John Steinbeck. Also locked inside the covers of the book one finds the most complete description of the life and philosophies of Edward Ricketts, who, without his deep participation, America might never had the opportunity of experiencing the finest works of Steinbeck. This in no way denigrates the work of Steinbeck, or elevates Ricketts to the status of novelist, but is the finest example of how genius, like all of nature, abhors a vacuum. It is the story of how creativity can be expanded exponentially through synergy, and of how contingency, those factors of randomness that rule the universe, sometimes bring together great minds at just the precise time, and the final product becomes magic.

Since I first read John Steinbeck and Edward F. Ricketts The Shaping of a Novelist, it has been my desire to get this book back into general circulation so that Professor Astro’s words could be made more readily available to all that have a greater interest in the interactions of two fascinating individuals. Most know about Steinbeck, many know of a "Doc’ who occurs in various guises in many of Steinbeck’s works, but few know of the real Ed Ricketts, and even fewer know the extent of Ed’s thoughts on Steinbeck’s work.

David Loper


Western Flyer Publishing


About the Author:

Professor Richard Astro has authored and co-authored many works on John Steinbeck and other literary notables. These works include, Steinbeck: The Man and His Work by Richard Astro, Tetsumaro Hayashi (Editor), Edward F. Ricketts (Western Writers Series No 21) , The Fiction of Bernard Malamud (American Authors Series) by Richard Astro (Editor), Jackson J. Benson (Editor) and a new introduction to Steinbecks’ famous work, The Log from the Sea of Cortez (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics) by John Steinbeck.

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Astro, Richard
Published by Western Flyer Publishing (2002)
ISBN 10: 0972197400 ISBN 13: 9780972197403
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)

Book Description Western Flyer Publishing, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110972197400

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