Date Updated



Department of English and Comparative Literature, Humanities and the Arts

Academic Rank


Year Retired from SJSU

December 2015

Educational Background

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, English, 1985 Ph.D.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, English, 1976 M.A.

Cornell College, English and Art, 1973 B.A.

Dissertation Title

The Art of Cooper’s Landscapes: Identity, Theme, and Structure in the Leatherstocking Tales

Teaching Experience

San Jose State University, Department of English and Comparative Literature, College of Humanities and Arts, Professor, 1984-2021.

Stanford University, Hopkins Marine Station, Visiting Professor, 2005, ‘06, ‘08, ‘10, ‘12, ‘19.

Santa Clara University, Department of English, Lecturer, 1984-86.

Buffalo Seminar, Department of English, teacher, 1981-4

Canisius College, Department of English, Instructor, 1981-4

Wake Forest University, Department of English, Instructor, 1977-81

Administrative and Professional Experience

San Jose State University, College of Humanities and the Arts, Director, Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies, 1987-2005.

SJSU President’s Scholar, 2013

National Steinbeck Center, Salinas, Director, 2015-18.

National Endowment for Humanities Summer Institutes for high school teachers, co-Director, “John Steinbeck, The Voice of a Region, a Voice for America,” 2007, ‘09, ‘11, ‘13, ’16, ’18, ’20 (postponed to 2022)


Tor House Foundation, 2021-present

Western Flyer Foundation, 2016-present

Board, Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies, 2012-present.

Board, Hopkins Marine Station, 2011-present

Board, Monterey Museum of Art, 2019-2020

Board, National Steinbeck Center, 1998-2003; 2006-12; 2014-18.

Selected Publications


Steinbeck's Landscapes, Timber Press. forthcoming, 2025

Steinbeck's Uneasy America: Re-Reading "Travels with Charley,"edited by Barbara Heavilin and Susan Shillinglaw, U. of Alabama Press, 2024

A Journey Into Steinbeck’s California, Berkeley: Roaring Forties Press, 2006. Second edition, 2011; Third edition, 2019.

On Reading The Grapes of Wrath, NY: Penguin Books, 2014.

Carol and John Steinbeck: Portrait of a Marriage. Reno: University of Nevada Press. 2013.

America and Americans and Selected Nonfiction. Edited by Susan Shillinglaw and Jackson Benson. NY: Penguin, 2002.

Beyond Boundaries: Rereading John Steinbeck. Edited by Susan Shillinglaw and Kevin Hearle. Alabama UP, 2002.

John Steinbeck: Centennial Reflections by American Writers. Edited by Susan Shillinglaw. San Jose: Center for Steinbeck Studies, 2002.

How to Organize a Steinbeck Book or Film Discussion Group. Edited by Susan Shillinglaw and Harold Augenbraum. Center for Steinbeck Studies and Mercantile Library, NY, 2002. (for NEH grant)

Steinbeck and the Environment: Interdisciplinary Approaches. Edited by Susan Beegel, Susan Shillinglaw, and Wes Tiffney. Alabama UP. 1997

John Steinbeck: The Contemporary Reviews. Edited by Joseph R. McElrath, Jesse S. Crisler, and Susan Shillinglaw. Cambridge UP. 1996.

Selected scholarly articles

The Grapes of Wrath,” in Literary Journeys, Hachett, 2021.

"". . . his back into it": Barry Lopez and John Steinbeck" Steinbeck Review Vol. 18 Iss. 1 (2021) p. 50 - 54

“To Look from Heliaster to the Stars, and then Back to the Tidepool,” Journal of the Southwest, 2020.

“John Steinbeck’s Participatory Politics, 1936-1968” Steinbeck Review, 2019

Susan Shillinglaw, Ana Hahs, Megan De Groot and Gabrielle LaFrank. "Truth, gender, and black sheep: Students on steinbeck" The Steinbeck Review Vol. 16 Iss. 2 (2019) p. 218 - 230 ISSN: 1546007X

“Homebuilding in Steinbeck’s California,” SJSU Reed magazine, 2018.

"Intrepid Martha" Steinbeck Review Vol. 13 Iss. 1 (2016) p. 70 - 72 ISSN: 1546-007X

“The Protest Fiction of Upton Sinclair, Jack London, Frank Norris, John Steinbeck” for Cambridge Companion to the Literature of California, edited by Blake Allmendinger, Cambridge UP, 2015.

Susan Shillinglaw, Melinda Pham, TK Martin and Pete Barraza. "Teaching and Living Steinbeck’s Stories" Steinbeck Review Vol. 12 Iss. 1 (2015) p. 1 - 15 ISSN: 1546-007X

"Carol Steinbeck at Work" Steinbeck Review Vol. 10 Iss. 1 (2013)

“Introduction: The Twenty-First-Century Portable Steinbeck” (Penguin Classics), xi-xxxiv. NY: Penguin: 2012.

'Steinbeck’s Last Words,' Review-Essay of Steinbeck in Vietnam: Dispatches from the War. NY(2013)

Introduction and Notes to The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck, (Penguin Classics), vii-xxx and 281-291. NY: Penguin, 2009.

“The Wrath of a Nation; Reading The Grapes of Wrath, 1939-2007.” Homer from Salinas: John Steinbeck’s Enduring Voice for California, edited by William A. Nericcio, 155-181. San Diego: San Diego State UP, 2009.

“Ricketts, Steinbeck and Intertidal Ecology” (with William Gilly). In Encyclopedia of Tide Pools and Rocky Shores, edited by Mark Denny. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007.

“John Steinbeck’s ‘Spiritual Streak’” “Spiritual Frontiers: Belief and Values in the Literary West.” Literature and Belief 21.1. 2002.

"'What a mess of draggletail impulses a man is': Voices in The Winter of Our Discontent." Steinbeck Annual, 2000.

Introduction to A Russian Journal by John Steinbeck (Penguin Classics), NY: Penguin Classics, 1999.

'John Steinbeck' for American National Biography. NY Vol. 24 (1999)

"Steinbeck and Ethnicity." In After The Grapes of Wrath: Essays on John Steinbeck in Honor of Tetsumaro Hayashi, edited by Donald V. Coers, Robert DeMott, and Paul Ruffin, 40-57. Ohio UP, 1994.

Introduction to Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (Penguin Classics). vii-xxviii. NY: Penguin, 1994.

Introduction to Cannery Row by John Steinbeck (Penguin Classics), vii-xxx. NY: Penguin, 1994.

"California Answers The Grapes of Wrath." In Steinbeck: The Years of Greatness, edited by Tetsumaro Hayashi, 145-163. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 1993.

"'The Chrysanthemums': Steinbeck's Pygmalion." In Steinbeck's Short Stories in The Long Valley: Essays in Criticism, edited by Tetsumaro Hayashi. Steinbeck Monograph Series 15 (1991): 1-9.

John Steinbeck. Bibliography of United States Literature, 1919-1988. NY (1991)

Review of The Short Novels of John Steinbeck: Critical Essays with a Checklist to Steinbeck Criticism and The Dramatic Landscape of Steinbeck's Short Stories. (1991)

"Cooper's Fathers and Daughters: The Dialectic of Paternity," James Fenimore Cooper: His Country and His Art. 6, 1987. 54-66.

"Pictorial Space as Identity in The Deerslayer," James Fenimore Cooper: His Country and His Art. 6, 1987. 14-21.

Contribution to Book

“’A Feeling of Oneness’: Modernist Experiments of James Fitzgerald, Edward Flanders Ricketts, and John Steinbeck” in James Fitzgerald : The Watercolors : Selections from the Catalogue Raisonne, Robert L. Stahl, Volume II. Monhegan Island, Maine: Monhegan Museum of Art & History (2022)

"The Protest Fiction of Frank Norris, Upton Sinclair, Jack London, and John Steinbeck" New York, NYA History of California Literature (2015) p. 157 - 170

Susan Shillinglaw and William Gilly. "Ricketts, Steinbeck and Intertidal Ecology" Berkeley Encyclopedia of Tide Pools and Rocky Shores (2007)

"'What a Mess of Draggletail Impulses a Man Is': Voices in The Winter of Our Discontent" Lewiston, NY Steinbeck Yearbook Vol. 1 (2000)

"John Steinbeck" NYEssential Bibliography of American Fiction: Modern Classic Writers (1994)

"Steinbeck and Ethnicity" Ohio After The Grapes of Wrath: Essays on John Steinbeck in Honor of Tetsumaro Hayashi (1994)

"California Answers The Grapes of Wrath" TuscaloosaSteinbeck: The Years of Greatness (1993)

"'The Chrysanthemums': Steinbeck's Pygmalion" Steinbeck's Short Stories in The Long Valley: Essays in Criticism Vol. 15 (1991)

"John Steinbeck" The Readers' Companion to American History. Boston (1991)

Personal Commentary

I have been richly rewarded by my career devoted to John Steinbeck, and I am indebted to Lou Lewandowski for giving me the opportunity to direct the Steinbeck Research Center in 1987, when she was Chair of the English Department. Like Steinbeck, I also love to travel, to garden, to walk my dog, to be out in nature.



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Shillinglaw, Susan