Novelist John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath (1939) is one of the greatest works of American fiction. Enraged by the treatment of migrant farm workers in California's Central Valley during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, Steinbeck wrote the novel in just 100 days. It represents a perfect storm of artistic expression: one of the greatest inflection points in American history (the devastating Dust Bowl), one of the most riveting road trips in American literature, and a work by a novelist at the height of his powers.
Steinbeck won both the Pulitzer Prize (1940) and the Nobel Prize for Literature (1962) for The Grapes of Wrath. But this novel was banned from schools in Bakersfield, California until the late 1970s. It was denounced as filth by literary puritans and criticized by establishment figures in California and the people of Oklahoma for its portrayal of the Joad family and their neighbors.
Join humanities scholar Clay Jenkinson for a spirited discussion of The Grapes of Wrath and why its deeply felt themes resonate today.