"Everything else I have written has been, in a sense, practice for this" - Steinbeck.
STEINBECK, John. East of Eden. New York: The Viking Press, 1952.
8vo., original green buckram lettered in gilt on spine and upper board, original acetate dust jacket; all edges red; housed in original faux wooden slipcase; pp. [viii], 602; slipcase worn to edges and has undergone some expert repairs to split sides; text is bright and exceptionally clean.
First edition, this being one of 1500 numbered copies, signed by the author.
"It has everything I have been able to learn about my art or craft or profession in all these years"(Salinas Public Library, 45) wrote John Steinbeck of East of Eden, the novel he considered his magnum opus. The novel was coolly received when it was first published in 1952, but has grown in stature and popularity ever since, and is now recognised as the author’s most ambitious and accomplished work.
Set in the farmland of California's Salinas Valley, the novel is a combination of two interweaving storylines in two separate time periods; the American Civil War and the end of World War I. It follows the lives of two families, the Trasks and Hamiltons, and draws heavily on the biblical stories of Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel, exploring the relationships between parents, children and brothers.
The book was later made into a 1955 film, directed by Elia Kazan, and loosely based on the second half of the novel. The film stars Julie Harris, Raymond Massey, and James Dean in his first major screen role.