Travels with Charley in Search of America: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) (Paperback)
In 1960, Steinbeck felt that he no longer intimately understood the country that he had been writing about for most of his life. Travels with Charley is his travelogue that came from his desire to see the country one last time before he died. It's a rich perspective on America as only Steinbeck can tell it, as he travels via a camper named Rocinante and solely in the company of his delightful pet poodle, Charley. It's a jewel of a travel essay and a snapshot of the US at the time of JFK/Nixon, all told in that cut-to-the-quick-beauty prose that he has.— From Elaine
A collectible 50th anniversary deluxe edition featuring an updated introduction by Jay Parini and first edition cover art and illustrated maps of Steinbeck’s route by Don Freeman
In September 1960, John Steinbeck embarked on a journey across America. He felt that he might have lost touch with the country, with its speech, the smell of its grass and trees, its color and quality of light, the pulse of its people. To reassure himself, he set out on a voyage of rediscovery of the American identity, accompanied by a distinguished French poodle named Charley; and riding in a three-quarter-ton pickup truck named Rocinante.
His course took him through almost forty states: northward from Long Island to Maine; through the Midwest to Chicago; onward by way of Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana (with which he fell in love), and Idaho to Seattle, south to San Francisco and his birthplace, Salinas; eastward through the Mojave, New Mexico, Arizona, to the vast hospitality of Texas, to New Orleans and a shocking drama of desegregation; finally, on the last leg, through Alabama, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey to New York.
Travels with Charley in Search of America is an intimate look at one of America's most beloved writers in the later years of his life—a self-portrait of a man who never wrote an explicit autobiography. Written during a time of upheaval and racial tension in the South—which Steinbeck witnessed firsthand—Travels with Charley is a stunning evocation of America on the eve of a tumultuous decade. This Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition also features French flaps and deckle-edged paper.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
About the Author
John Steinbeck (1902–1968) was born in Salinas, California. He worked as a laborer and a journalist, and in 1935, when he published Tortilla Flat, he achieved popular success and financial security. Steinbeck wrote more than twenty-five novels and won the Nobel Prize in 1962.
Jay Parini teaches English at Middlebury College and is the author of five novels, including The Last Station. He lives in Vermont.
"Pure delight, a pungent potpourri of places and people interspersed with bittersweet essays on everything from the emotional difficulties of growing old to the reasons why giant sequoias arouse such awe." — The New York Times Book Review
"Profound, sympathetic, often angry . . . an honest, moving book by one of our great writers." — The San Francisco Examiner
"The eager, sensuous pages in which he writes about what he found and whom he encountered frame a picture of our human nature in the twentieth century which will not soon be surpassed." — The Atlantic Monthy