Of Mice and Men, 1937 - Information about the Book
- Of Mice and Men takes place during an era in United States history called the Great Depression.
Steinbeck wanted his novel to reach the very workers he was writing about, but he knew that many poor farm workers were illiterate. He had seen theater troupes performing for farm labor camps, and he got the idea that he could write a novel that was made up almost entirely of dialogue, so that it could also be produced as a play.
Steinbeck had almost finished his first draft of the novel when his dog tore the manuscript to shreds. He wrote to his editor, "Two months work to do over again. I was pretty mad, but the poor little fellow may have been acting critically." He eventually rewrote the novel and it was published on this day in 1937. The play was produced soon after, and both the novel and the play were huge successes. Of Mice and Men has remained one of Steinbeck's most popular novels, and it's been made into a movie three times, in 1939, 1981, and 1992.
Garrison Keillor, The Writer's Almanac, February 6, 2004
- The book takes its title from Robert Burns' poem To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough, 1785 (Burn's original version and standard English translation). See especially the second last stanza with the line "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley" (The best laid plans of mice and men go oft awry).
- The novel was removed from Tennessee public schools in 1984 when the School Board Chair promised to remove all "filthy books" from public school curricula and libraries. This classic was also banned from a public school in Ohio in 1980.
- Introduction to Of Mice and Men with maps, photos of the Great Depression, and movie posters