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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

'Greatest of the Arts'

 “I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists.  Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts, since the medium is the human mind and spirit.”—John Steinbeck.

Like many of the great writers of the early to mid-20th Century Steinbeck was first a newspaper reporter before he tried his hand at creative writing.  And like many of his contemporaries, including good friend Ernest Hemingway, he spent time as a war correspondent during World War II following the phenomenal success of his 1939 novel, The Grapes of Wrath, which won both the National Book Award and The Pulitzer Prize.

A self-taught writer, he started at age 14 and in later life said he wished he would have spent more time under the tutelage of some of the teachers who made a lifelong impression on him and his work.  The power of a good teacher, he said, is immeasureable.


Steinbeck wrote a number of novels and short stories that did not succeed, but many more that did, including Of Mice and Men, Tortilla Flats, and The Long Valley.   Several of his books were made into movies.   In 1962, shortly before his death, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for his life’s body of work.

“I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature.”



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