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In Search of America: Travels with Charley (and Clay)

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In Search of America: Travels with Charley (and Clay)

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, July 16, 2024 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0487
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This online program is presented on Zoom.
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Materials for this program

Clay Jenkinson (Photo: Clay’s business organization, Dakotasky Education, Inc.)

Historian Clay Jenkinson is a John Steinbeck scholar who is retracing Steinbeck's 1960 Travels with Charley tour of America this year as part of an educational and journalistic initiative he leads called Listening to America.

The subtitle of Steinbeck's book is "In Search of America." And though Steinbeck finally threw up his hands and admitted that America was too big to know, and his heart and soul weren't really in the quest, Jenkinson intends to explore the mood and face of America on the eve of our 250th birthday, July 4, 2026. 

With his Airstream trailer named Panza and his pickup Rocinante (both derived from Don Quixote), Jenkinson’s odyssey to cover the perimeter of the United States gets in gear this spring, with the first of three planned driving segments taking him from Sag Harbor, New York, to Bismarck, North Dakota. The trip winds down in November with a final swing back up the East Coast, and along the way he'll be reading all of Steinbeck's works and filing daily posts about his travels.  

Jenkinson examines Steinbeck's extraordinary account of his road trip—Travels with Charley is the most personally revealing of all his books—­and his own attempt to make sense of what its author called "this monster country." By traveling less-visited byways and taking time to see this immense, extraordinary country with fresh eyes, Jenkinson plans on listening to—and reporting on—the many voices of America’s past, present, and future.

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