Abstract

John Steinbeck’s background as a lifelong Episcopalian and his childhood experiences at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Salinas, California, strongly influenced significant events in his later life, the language and structure of several of his greatest works, his treatment of belief in some of his most memorable characters, and the meaning of certain key passages in his fiction and nonfiction. An original interpretive examination of the pre-Episcopal religious history of his father’s family, the reasons for his mother’s involvement in their adopted church, errors in certain parish records, connections between passages of fiction and nonfiction and personal letters, decisions made about Thom Steinbeck’s baptism and John Steinbeck’s funeral and family memorial, and key passages in To a God Unknown, In Dubious Battle, Bombs Away, East of Eden, Travels with Charley, The Winter of Our Discontent, and ‘America and Americans’ is supported by the close reading of relevant primary sources, a critical reading of selected secondary sources, and personal interviews, e-mails, and telephone conversations to provide the data and detail required for a more balanced and complete consideration of Steinbeck’s childhood religion and adult Anglican agnosticism by future biographers and critics of his work.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1938-6214
Print ISSN
1546-007x
Pages
pp. 118-140
Launched on MUSE
2013-12-11
Open Access
No
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