Steinbeck not popular choice for 1962 Nobel, Swedish archives reveal
Newly opened Swedish archives reveal that John Steinbeck, the most famous native son of Salinas, Calif., was not a universally popular choice to receive the 1962 Nobel Prize for Literature.
Sixty-six of the world's great authors were put forward that year. Others in the running included British authors Lawrence Durrell and Robert Graves and Danish author Karen Blixen (pen name: Isak Dinesen), who wrote “Out of Africa.” Steinbeck ended up among the final six, after having been nominated eight times.
“There aren't any obvious candidates for the Nobel Prize, and the prize committee is in an unenviable situation,” wrote committee member Henry Olsson, according to a piece published this month by Swedish journalist Kaj Schueler in Svenska Dagbladet, a major Swedish newspaper.
Steinbeck historian Carol Robles disagrees, saying Steinbeck's enduring popularity has proven the worthiness of his works.
“He deserved that prize, and part of the reason is the length of time that people continue to read him and the broad audience he has in so many foreign countries,” Robles said. “His works have endured, and they're still relevant.”
All information about the Swedish academy's deliberations on nominated authors is kept secret for 50 years. Records including the 1962 Nobel committee meetings were released earlier this month.
“Steinbeck remains one of the major writers of the world,” said Herb Behrens, volunteer archivist with the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas. “The fact that others didn't think so — well, that's part of the selection process. But people are still reading him and writing about him.”
Steinbeck, himself, had his doubts about his receiving the Nobel Prize. When asked if he did deserve it, he said, “Frankly, no.”
Dave Nordstrand is a staff writer for The (Salinas) Californian.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Summertime is the perfect opportunity to dig into a good book
- Point Breeze writer draws from his past
- Doctor and author Oliver Sacks talks about what has kept him ‘On the Move’
- Review: In new Spenser thriller: Kids are OK, judges aren’t
- Review: ‘How to Survive Anything’ is a laugh-filled, but somewhat serious, guide