A comparative reading of John Steinbeck's and Frank Hardy's works
Keywords:linguistics / English / comparisons
AbstractAlthough belonging to literatures spatially and traditionally very remote from each other, John Steinbeck, an American Nobel Prize winner, and Frank Hardy, an Australian novelist and story-teller, share a number of common grounds. The fact that by the time Hardy wrote his first novel, in 1950, Steinbeck was already a popular writer with a long list of masterpieces does not justify the assumption that Hardy had Steinbeck at hand when writing his best-sellers, but it does exclude the opposite direction of inheritance. Hardy's creativ impulses and appropriations may have been the unconscious results of his omnivorous reading after he realized that "the transition from short stories [in which he excelled] to the novel was an obstacle not easily surmounted" as he confessed in The Hard Way: The Story Behind "Power Without Glory" (109). Furthermore, since both were highly regarded proletarian writers in communist Russia, Hardy might have become acquainted with Steinbeck's novels on one of his frequent visits to that country between 1951 and 1969.2 Upon closer reading, inter-textual entanglements with Steinbeck's prose can be detected in several of his books, including But the Dead Are Many (1975), the Billy Borker material collected in The Yarns of Billy Barker (1965) and in The Great Australian Lover and Other Stories (1967), and in Power Without Glory (1950). My purpose in this essay is to briefly illuminate the most striking similarities between the two authors' narrative strategies in terms of their writing style, narrative technique, and subject matter, and link these textual affinities to the larger social and cultural milieu of each author. In the second part I will focus on the parallels between their central works, Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath and Hardy's Power Without Glory.
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