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Revieivs 167 Steinbeck’s Unhappy Valley: A Study of The Pastures of Heaven. By Joseph Fontenrose. (Berkeley, Calif.: [Joseph Fontenrose,] 1981. xiv + 50 pages, $6.00.) Initially written for an aborted collection of criticism on short-story cycles, this essay remained in manuscript for nearly ten years before the author published it himself as a handsomely designed and printed pamphlet. Fontenrose lucidly draws convincing thematic and circumstantial parallels among the stories of The Pastures of Heaven, thus disclosing their integral relation to each other and to the work as a whole in terms of theme, conflict, action, and character as well as of the more obvious setting. Nevertheless, despite the additional detail in this essay, it offers little information or insight beyond that in his earlier volume, John Steinbeck: An Introduction and Interpretation (1963), with which all Steinbeck scholars are surely familiar. Its value would have been considerably greater had it appeared in the context for which it was originally intended, with its emphasis on the short-story cycle as genre, rather than in isolation with an appeal now principally to Steinbeck specialists. SANFORD E. MAROVITZ Kent State University The Piñón Pine: A Natural and Cultural History. By Ronald M. Lanner; with a section on Pine-Nut Cookery by Harriette Lanner. (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1981. 208 pages, hardcover $13.50; paperback $8.50.) Ronald Lanner dedicates this engrossing book to a “Numaga of the Paiutes, who knew what a tree was worth.” He wants us to know what Numaga and all Great Basin Indians knew about the value of one common, curious tree: the shrubby, unimposing piñón pine. To a desert backpacker his case is easily made. I’ve walked and camped in those open pine woodlands, taken the tang of the dry resin-scented air, and I love the piñón country. It iseasy to undervalue this landscape, though, simply because there’s so much of it. Piñons, with their companion trees the junipers, form tough sparse woodlands over thousands of square miles of mountains, hills and mesas in the Great Basin, the southern Rockies, and the Colorado Plateau country. Despite his title, Lanner’s subject is really this woodland, this piñonjuniper combination, not the pine alone. And he does very well by it. The writing ranges from adequate to eloquent. Lanner plainly knows his stuff, and often has original information to provide. He likes the things he writes about, and makes us like them, too. There are piñons and piñons: eleven species, including numerous Mexi­ can ones. Lanner focusses, though, on the familiar southwestern types: ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
p. 167
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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