RE: NANFA-- aquatic collecting adventure book

Jay DeLong (
Sun, 24 Feb 2002 09:15:24 -0800

> It's been quite a few years since I was in Monterey, so my memory
> is not real
> clear on this. There was a lot of local lore about John Steinbeck
> for us touristas
> and I remember reading about the biologist who was the
> inspiration for the lead
> charactor in Cannery Row and the tragic end to his life. I wonder
> if Ed Ricketts is that same biologist.

Harry, absolutely. Ricketts and Steinbeck were tight friends and Ricketts
is acknowledged to have had a profound influence on Steinbeck's thinking and
even writings. Cannery Row was written before Ricketts' early death in a
car accident, and Steinbeck wrote another book about him a couple years
after Ricketts' death. Both Ricketts' and Steinbeck's view towards the
natural world were shaped by some emerging ideas of their era-- that we are
a part of the whole; that nothing is unimportant and everything affects
everything else. The introduction to The Log from the Sea of Cortez touches
on that idea. The first time I read that intro I was a little put off by
his statements about the deskbound scientist. I thought, after all, that
scientific study and cataloging were important and I've always respected
those who have chosen that difficult field of study. But his friend
Ricketts was an amazing scientist, who wrote the classic Between Pacific
Tides about the intertidal life of the Monterey area. Stienbecks's
statements wren't a ctiticism; they were a call to experience our natural
world in all ways possible.

Jay DeLong
Olympia, WA
"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be."

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