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Our thoughts go out to Puerto Rico during this difficult time.

Elaine Steinbeck: A Man of the Soil

Following the posthumous publication of John Steinbeck's translation of the Arthurian legends, his wife, Elaine joins Charles Ruas in this restored 1976 program to reflect on his collected works and biography. Also during this this recording, she reads from his letters, which were also published. She talks about him in relation to his expat contemporaries, such as Fitzgerald and Hemingway.

Ruas inquires about the translation, observing that it seemed to be of a different grain of writing than most would recognize as a Steinbeck work. Elaine explains that her husband loved to learn and about anything else, he believed in the magic of a “place.” She refers to him as “a man of the soil” and owing from that he was concerned with “perfecting man” through his writing. He would say “that you can find kings, gods, and heroes, in the oddest places.” Based on these ideals, she argues that it isn't hard to believe that the same man could write The Grapes of Wrath and the Acts of King Arthur and his Noble Nights.


Historic Audio from the Archives of Charles Ruas


A unparalleled collection of recovered and restored programs from the seventies produced by Charles Ruas for WBAI-FM, New York's Pacifica station. It features reading, lectures, and performances by such cultural and literary icons as Allen Ginsberg, John Giorno, Anaïs Nin, William Boroughs, Buckminster Fuller, Sylvia Plath, Pablo Neruda, and Jorge Luis Borges, among numerous others. Ruas is the author of Conversations with American Writers, a Fulbright scholar, and a distinguished French translator. He is also a contributor to ARTNews and Art in America. This series is produced in partnership with Charles Ruas, The Pacifica Radio Archives, The Yale Beinecke Library, The Columbia University Rare Book & Manuscript Collection, and numerous restorers, archivists and collectors.