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Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck

Afterword by William Souder
Illustrations by James Ransome

A seminal work of American literature beloved by generations, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is a powerful exploration of the fragility of dreams and the resilience of the human spirit. 

Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, Of Mice and Men follows two migrant workers, George Milton and Lennie Small, as they dream of owning their own ranch while navigating the harsh realities of life in 1930s America. With its evocative prose, vivid characters, and haunting themes of loneliness and longing, Steinbeck’s masterpiece continues to captivate readers and provoke meaningful discussions about friendship, loyalty, sacrifice and the pursuit of happiness.

First published on February 6, 1937, Of Mice and Men attained the greatest positive response of any of Steinbeck’s works up to that time. The novella was chosen as a Book of the Month Club selection before it was even published. Nearly every review praised the future Nobel Prize winning author for his mastery of the craft. In one of its earliest reviews, The Chronicle called it, “A simple story, one that combines a curious dreamlike quality with the swift streamlining of a good play. It is a story that will sweep you irresistibly with it, too. Steinbeck has done such a masterly job of storytelling that you feel the horror that is ahead even before it begins to grow. You see the fate that is going to overtake these men and their dream.”

Of Mice and Men also represents an experiment in form. Steinbeck described his work as “a kind of playable novel, written in novel form but so scened and set that it can be played as it stands.” As such, Of Mice and Men has achieved remarkable success as a novel, a Broadway play and several acclaimed films.

With its enduring and moving message on the unbreakable bonds of friendship and the cruelties of a hostile world, Of Mice and Men continues to move readers with its profound insights into the complexities of what it means to be human.

About the Editions

Our edition of Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is presented in three states: Artist, Numbered and Lettered. The editions measure 6” x 9” and feature seven watercolor illustrations by multi-award-winning artist James Ransome, and a new afterword by prize-winning author & journalist William Souder.

Designed by Mark Argetsinger in Monotype Bulmer; the type was cast in metal and printed letterpress by David Wolfe, Isak Applin and Claire Christensen at Wolfe Editions in Portland, Maine. Titles are hand set in foundry type. The original typeface was designed and cut by William Martin ca. 1792; it’s modern cutting is named after the printer-publisher William Bulmer of the Shakespeare Press. The press work was accomplished on a Nebiolo Cylinder.

The illustrations in all three states are printed giclée on beautiful Hahnemühle Bugra and are tipped on. The text is printed on Mohawk Superfine, mouldmade Somerset Book, and handmade Twinrocker papers. The Numbered & Lettered states are signed by James Ransome and William Souder, and the Artist state is signed by James Ransome.

The Artist edition is limited to 500 handbound copies with a dust jacket printed on Hahnemühle Bugra by offset lithography and illustrated by James Ransome. It is a smyth-sewn, quarter cloth binding with Bugra Archive sides, and a foil blocked cover. It is the only edition of the three with the dust jacket and is housed in a cloth covered slipcase with ends in a complimentary color, and a letterpress printed spine label. The edition is printed letterpress from metal type on Mohawk Superfine and is signed by the artist.

The Numbered edition of 250 copies is a Millimeter style binding covered in Japanese cloth with goatskin leather trim on the spine and fore edges. Spine and cover labels are printed letterpress on Hahnemühle Bugra with the cover label depicting an historic wood engraving by Thomas Bewick (1753-1828).

The edition is printed letterpress from metal type on mouldmade Somerset and is housed in a clamshell enclosure covered in Japanese cloth with velour lined trays. It is signed by James Ransome and William Souder.

The Lettered edition is limited to 26 copies and is a full goatskin binding with a die-cut vellum onlay depicting a rabbit on the front and back cover. The eye on the front cover is a turquoise round cabochon gemstone, and the eye on the back cover is a black onyx cabochon gemstone. The spine features a leather foil stamped label between two raised bands.

The leather is from Harmatan and Oakridge and the vellum is from Pergamena Leather, producers of fine leather and parchment since 1550. Endsheets are hand marbled by Emily Romero and the edition is housed in a Japanese cloth covered clamshell enclosure with a leather spine and label.

The edition is printed letterpress from metal type on handmade Twinrocker paper. Established in 1971, Twinrocker was pivotal to the renaissance of hand papermaking in America. The edition is handbound by acclaimed bookbinder John DeMerritt in Emeryville, California and is signed by James Ransome and William Souder.

About the Author

John Steinbeck

Born in 1902 in Salinas, California, John Steinbeck found inspiration in the fertile agricultural valley and the nearby Pacific Coast, both of which featured prominently in his fiction. He briefly attended Stanford University, leaving in 1925 without taking a degree. After various jobs in New York City, he published his debut novel, Cup of Gold, in 1929. Steinbeck gained popularity with Tortilla Flat in 1935, followed by acclaimed works like Of Mice and Men (1937) and The Grapes of Wrath (1939), which earned him the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. His versatility led him to explore various themes, including the struggles of the California laboring class. Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962 and the United States Medal of Freedom in 1964, Steinbeck passed away in 1968, leaving behind a legacy as one of America’s greatest writers and cultural figures.

About the Collaborators

William Souder

Journalist and author William Souder’s biography of John James Audubon was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist. His book about Rachel Carson was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and his biography of John Steinbeck, Mad at the World, won the Los Angeles Times’ Book Prize in Biography and was named one of the Best Nonfiction Books of 2020 by Publishers Weekly. He lives near Minneapolis.

James Ransome

With a career spanning over 34 years, James Ransome has illustrated more than 70 books. His passion for art began in Rich Square, NC. As a teenager, he moved to Bergenfield, NJ, before pursuing a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. Ransome’s talent has garnered him numerous accolades, including the prestigious Coretta Scott King Awards, ALA Notables, a Jane Addams Award, NAACP Image awards, and in 2023 was honored with the Children’s Literature Legacy Award by the American Library Association in recognition of his exceptional contributions to Children’s Literature. He resides in Rhinebeck, NY.

Matching Numbers & Letters

A Matching Pre-Order email is sent to owners of our previous publication (Kin) at 9:00 A.M. PT on the day of announcement. If you did not receive the email, contact us here. If your order is not received before the deadline, your designated number or letter will be assigned to the new owner.

Order Limits

Please be aware of the order limits for our editions. You can read more about this in the Order Limits article on our support site.

Six of Seven Watercolor Illustrations by James Ransome Included as Tipped on Giclée Prints

Behind-the-Scenes Video

Published editions may differ slightly from mockups and prototype designs.
Illustrations © 2021 by James Ransome.

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