Shillinglaw, Susan


Shillinglaw, Susan

Date Updated



Department of English and Comparative Literature, Humanities and the Arts

Academic Rank


Year Retired from SJSU

December 2015

SelectedWorks Profile Page

Susan Shillinglaw

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-present.

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 ’21)


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

Board, Hopkins Marine Station, 2011-present

Board, Cannery Row Foundation, 1994-1998; 2010-present.

Board, Monterey Museum of Art, 2019-present

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

Selected Publications


Steinbeck’s Landscapes, Timber Press, Forthcoming, 2022

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.

“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

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

“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.

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

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.

"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.

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

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

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.


Shillinglaw, Susan