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338 WesternAmerican Literature motivations or viewpoint.” Several writers attempt analysis conducted through theological perspectives, and others present material widely discussed twentyfive years ago as if it werejust recently discovered. There are significant essays in this collection, however. H. R. Stoneback’s study, “Woody Guthrie,John Steinbeck, and Folksong,”is alone worth the price ofthe book. On the other side of the question, Louis Owens’analysis of the two best known non-fiction prose works, The LogFrom The Sea of Cortez and Travels With Charlie, demonstrates that Travelsdid not continue the pattern which gave The Log its power. As always, Owens’ perceptions are significant. Robert Morsberger has arguably the best study of Steinbeck’sWWII works, and he believes The Moon IsDown to be “the best novel about the war written during the war.” The final essay needed editorial direction. Had John Timmerman taken a positive approach in showing how Steinbeck learned to “rearrange experience to ‘establish a relation of meaning’” rather than seeing his task as defending Steinbeck against the charges of imitation and plagiarism, it would have pro­ vided unity for the volume. As it is, readers will have to look diligently, and often without success, to discover the implied answers to “the Steinbeck question.” ROBERT M. BENTON Central Washington University A New Study Guide To Steinbeck’s Major Works, With CriticalExplications. Edited by Tetsumaro Hayashi. (Metuchen, NewJersey: Scarecrow Press, 1993. 298 pages, $35.00.) Twenty years after he edited A Study Guide To Steinbeck, Tetsumaro Hayashi is back again with “a new generation of active Steinbeck teacher-scholars” to revisit the major works. Written primarily for the college classroom, each essay includes plot synopsis, critical explication, research/discussion topics, and bib­ liography. Changes have come in the two decades since the first volume in which fifteen critics covered thirteen works and two general areas. The new Study Guideuses seven critics to cover ten books and one general area. If these ten are now considered the major works, then significantréévaluation has taken place. East ofEden and Travels With Charlie have replaced five books, including TortillaFlat. Discussions of the major works in both the first and the latest volumes are arranged alphabetically, and perhaps in the new book this is not the best approach, but several areas of interest are readily apparent. This new genera­ tion has used well the two decades of vigorous Steinbeck criticism, primarily stimulated by Professor Hayashi through his editing of the Steinbeck Quarterly and his energetic publishing leadership. Although no Steinbeck scholar can now be unaware of the landmark contribution made byJackson Benson in the Reviews 339 authorized Steinbeck biography, this new volume dramatically reveals how completely the mantle has been passed from Peter Lisca to Benson. Every critic in A New Study Guideused Benson’s material, many with three to eight specific references. In some cases the study guide apparatus weakens the presentation, as in the beginning essay on America and the Americans in which the first sentence in several plot synopsis chapters is repeated verbatim in the corresponding section of explication, or as in the discussion of Cannery Row in which non-narrative chapters are called intercalary and equated with those in The GrapesofWrath. Of more regret is the misunderstanding of the concept of “breaking through,”but the essay’s discussion questions arejewels. The really sparkling contributions come from Louis Owens, who presents East ofEden as “a novel about its own creation”and who reveals Steinbeck’s “key to how we should read” the novel. In this essay, as well as in his study of The Grapes of Wrath, Owens demonstrates the best in critical analysis as he carefully leads the reader to new levels of insight, covering major critical viewpoints with an ease that is the premier example ofHayashi’sconcept of the teacher-scholar. A similar result can be found in Helen Lojek’s analysis of In Dubious Battle. Although she breaks no new ground, she brings together the major aspects of the book in a voice that reveals her own ability as a story teller. Barbara Heavilin also makes a valuable contribution in her analysis ofthe writing style revealed in Travels With Charlie, one which will delight rhetoricians. Editor Hayashi closes...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 338-339
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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