Writer, born in Salinas, California, USA. He studied sporadically at Stanford (1919–25) before working in New York City as a reporter and bricklayer. He returned to California and worked at a variety of jobs until he could support himself as a writer. His fourth novel, Tortilla Flat (1935), was the first to gain him any critical or financial recognition. It was followed by In Dubious Battle (1936), an account of a California strike, and his well-known moral fable, Of Mice and Men (1937), which was adapted for a successful stage play and film. He lived and worked with Oklahoma migrants who were heading for California (1937–9), and from that experience he forged what is considered his masterpiece, The Grapes of Wrath (1939). The novel revealed, once again, his love of the land, sympathy for the human condition, and his intolerance of the corruption and exploitation of the weak by powerful commercial interests. He worked as a foreign correspondent during World War 2 and during the Vietnam War (1966–7). His critical reputation declined in his later years despite such popular works as the novel East of Eden (1952) and a travel/memoir, Travels with Charley (1962), but he had written a number of modern classics and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.
Biography found at http://www.biography.com/search/article.do?id=9493358
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Poet, born in Portland, Maine, USA. After graduation from Bowdoin College (1825), he studied languages in Europe (1826–9) and became professor and librarian at Bowdoin (1829–35). After further study in Europe, he was appointed Smith Professor of French and Spanish at Harvard (1836–54). A collection of poetry, Voices in the Night (1839), contained the poems ‘A Psalm Life’, ‘Hymn to the Night’, and ‘The Light of the Stars’, which soon became widely known. Ballads and Other Poems (1841), including such immensely popular works as ‘The Village Blacksmith’, ‘The Wreck of the Hesperus’, and ‘Excelsior’, and his longer narrative poems, Evangeline (1847), The Song of Hiawatha (1855), and The Courtship of Miles Standish (1858), further served to make him the best-known American poet of the century. His Tales of a Wayside Inn (1863) opens with ‘Paul Revere's Ride’, which has ever since been a national favourite. The widespread knowledge of these works and their inclusion in school curricula throughout the country did much to establish the popular notion of poetry in the USA well into the 20th-c. For spiritual solace after the accidental death of his second wife (1861), he translated The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri (1865–7) and produced a series of six sonnets, ‘Divina Commedia’, which are among his finest poems. Although his work later came to be regarded as saccharine and didactic, there is no denying that he long played one of the traditional roles of a poet.
Biography found at http://www.biography.com/search/article.do?id=9385673