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Al dio sconosciuto

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  8,459 ratings  ·  635 reviews
Romanzo "profetico" che prende il titolo dal discorso tenuto da san Paolo nell'Areopago di Atene, Al Dio sconosciuto fu pubblicato nel 1935 e tradotto da Eugenio Montale nel 1946. Racconta la storia di un contadino, Joseph Wayne, che lascia la vecchia fattoria del Vermont per traversare l'America e stabilirsi insieme ai fratelli in una fertile vallata della California. Le ...more
Paperback, Tascabili Bompiani #1179, 252 pages
Published September 2011 by Bompiani (first published 1933)
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Alison Smallwood A young man leaves the family farm to start out on his own in California and is soon joined by his siblings and their families due to the fertile…moreA young man leaves the family farm to start out on his own in California and is soon joined by his siblings and their families due to the fertile soils. He develops a spiritual attachment to the land and practises unusual rituals to keep the land happy and prosperous. His catholic brother is very concerned about these pagan practises, believing it to be very dangerous. The land does bless him abundantly but also appears to be cursed after a series of tragic events. The family needs to decide whether to stay or leave.(less)
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3.94  · 
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Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dolors by: My yearning for a warm day on the Monterey bay
Shelves: read-in-2017
Steinbeck’s second novella is more than the sum of words that composes it.
On the surface, a story of a young man called Joseph Wayne who leaves his homeland in Vermont to establish his own farm in Our Lady of the Valley, California.
Underneath, a parable that is a converging point between pagan rites, Greek myths and the Old Testament, rich with allegorical meaning and thought-provoking interpretations.

The lush, fertile valley that Joseph selects to start a family and a cluster of farms with hi
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american
“In a dry year all signs fail.”

There is little doubt that the migrants to the Salinas Valley of central California around the turn of the 20th century thought they had arrived in Paradise - like the Spanish and native settlers before them. This is why Joseph and his brothers quit their inhospitable Vermont. The climate was perfect. The resources and beauty abundant. The soil was fecund and waiting for seed. And the available technology was just right to exploit it all.

But the beautiful land has
Luís C.
A novel featuring a living man who gradually, in his love for his father and his passion for the land, will design a form of pagan belief. This is the story of a new Messiah, or the development of a new religion or the restoration of an old, but rather the story of a man incarnate, which feels directly related to the fate of the Earth. California of the pioneers, all these vibrant characters are facing changes in nature to which they are subjected.
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle

Back in 2012 I embarked on a project of reading my way through the works of John Steinbeck. Looking back on it, I should have developed a bit more of a plan: reading the novels in chronological order probably would have appealed to my Virgo tendencies. As it is, I started with Cannery Row, moved on to The Grapes of Wrath and then just read whatever came my way. Having finished To a God Unknown, I now only have one more novel– Steinbeck’s first, Cup of Gold – and a couple of volumes of non-fictio
Apr 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nick, Teri
Continuing in my quest to read all of Steinbeck...

Wow, this book affected me more than any other book in a long while. First, Steinbeck's writing is pure beauty. Sometimes I stop and savor each sentence, particularly in descriptive passages, and the perfection with which he writes is unbelievable.
Like the protagonist, Joseph, I love and feel connected to nature in a deep and a strong way. I also have a strong sense of the sacred that permeates my everyday experiences; Joseph seems always distrac
(review in English below)

4 estrelas e meia!

Nem sei bem que diga, fiquei um bocado abananada por esta história, duma intensidade que parece atravessar décadas e continentes, transmitida através duma escrita superior, incisiva e sem floreados, mas com uma sensibilidade que me surpreendeu.

A história é excelente, tal como os personagens e as descrições dos ambientes; é perceptível que o autor conheceu aqueles locais, mas ilustrá-los desta forma não é para qualquer um.

Foi o meu primeiro Steinbeck
Célia Loureiro

“To a God Unknown” is my first read by Steinbeck. I owned an old edition of The Grapes of Wrath, but I remember start reading it and being lost in so much description. Description is, precisely, what worked so well in this book. The title is a marvel, and the book revolves around its symbology with admirable grace. The script is rather simple: land in the West Coast is being given away and Joseph Wayne, who always dreamt of possessing something of his own, says goodbye to his dying father and
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I do not know whether there are men born outside humanity, or whether some men are so human as to make others seem unreal. Perhaps a godling lives on earth now and then...I tell you this man is not a man, unless he is all men."

4.5 stars. This book has so much symbolism and layers of meaning that I will probably read it again to try to absorb everything. I can't believe this was one of the first books Steinbeck wrote; it seems like something written at the end of a writer's career. It is rich an
May 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
“Everything seems to work with a recurring rhythm except life. There is only one birth and only one death. Nothing else is like that.”
― John Steinbeck, To a God Unknown


An early Steinbeck filled with amazing biblical, pagan, and Greek images. The novel sketches the relationship between Joseph and his efforts homesteading out West with his family. It is a story of four brothers who move from the East (Vermont) to the West (California) to work the land and raise cattle.

Joseph Wayne isn't the old
Joyce Lagow
Apr 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Steinbeck wrote a number of California novels. The early ones feature lyrical descriptive prose of the land, whether of the Salinas Valley or the Pacific Coast. Clearly Steinbeck loved the area, had a real passion for the valleys, the vegetation, the animals and the people who lived there. But while almost all of his other California novels that focused on the land and the people who lived on it were gently affectionate, To A God Unknown is a very different bird. The title is taken from an adapt ...more
Michael Canoeist
Apr 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An odd, often clumsy, but also fearless book. To a God Unknown is John Steinbeck's second novel, following a historical romance. I would not have guessed, in reading its first half, that I would end up giving it a 4-star rating, but its insistence on its unusual pantheistic themes, coupled with Steinbeck's tremendous evocation of the interior, unsung part of the California landscape's beauties and terrors, combined for powerful effect. The reader must be prepared for unrealistic dialogue -- Stei ...more
May 13, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mostly just Steinbeck fans
I opened this book for the first time - one of the few Steinbeck novels I had not yet read - shortly after completing my own first attempt at writing a novel. The little book is one of Steinbeck's earliest published works and, interestingly enough, the one that took him the longest to complete. It was in this context that I found the book most provoking: myself an aspiring writer, it was interesting to witness part of the development of one of my favorite novelists. Although not yet as strong an ...more
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I'll call this creepy Steinbeck. The detached writing style added a sinister element to these common place events and conversations. This story also took dark turns at almost every chance it got. I don't really understand Steinbeck's intent for this book, but I think I'd be a good read to kick off October. Just play creepy music in the background and nearly all the scenes will take on a menacing tone.
Mike Frost
Although it runs only 240 pages (compare that to East of Eden at 601 pages), To a God Unknown was the project which took Steinbeck the longest to complete. It was only his second full-length novel, and he worked on it over a period of five years, nearly scrapping it on more than one occasion. And despite all of his revisions and efforts he just did not succeed in making it a great piece of literature.

Now don't get me wrong -- it is still in an entirely different league than the pulpy kind of gar
Sep 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A mystical tale of course, that I've been wanting to read for a while. It exactly shows Steinbeck growing into a mature and accomplished novelist...
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Magical realism, cultures and beliefs clashing, and ancient pagan powers all play a part in this short but powerful Steinbeck novel. This is one of those novels that really requires a deep re-read, because there is so much going on and metaphors and symbols are everywhere.
Po Po
May 25, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

The things I liked were: (1)the breathtaking, awe-inspiring descriptions of nature...(2) the (sometimes heavy-handed) symbolism...and (3) the well-rounded portrayal of women as sexual beings yet with boundless strength and intelligence.

The things I didn't like: (1) the hero Joseph Wayne made choices that consistently made me want to discontinue reading...(2) the glorification of emotional unavailability / stoicism, as if it were an ideal character trait (is it really ideal? This trait was un
Jul 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, read-again
Its ambiguity, a novel written in ode to an unknown god, is what originally drew me to the book. Seeing that Steinbeck's latter works tended to be pretty biographical, I got the book, curious to see whether it gave any insight into how Steinbeck viewed religion or his faith. It was surprising to realize that the book is not so much intended to be a coherent story that spawns reader admiration, but rather, as Steinbeck himself put it, a complex mesh of his ideas and musings about life, death, and ...more
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was Steinbeck's third book in a long career. All of the wonderful elements of a Steinbeck book are already there: the prose, the tension between characters and inside each character, the love of the land. However, it seemed to me that was in a rush: a rush to create archetypes out of the protagonist Joseph Wayne and wife Elizabeth; a rush to describe the beauty and pull of the land; a rush to show us his literary versions of the sacrifice of Issac.

Perhaps the rush was his developing s
Mar 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of American lit
One of Steinbeck's early novellas, it is eerie, neo-paganistic, and sublime. The brother who is murdered was actually based on a real literary figure...Joseph Campbell. The two ran with the same literary crowd in the 40s and Campbell had an affair of the heart with Steinbeck's wife. Steinbeck handled the affair with grace and tact in reality, but poured out some righteous anger in To a God Unknown. Awesome stuff.
Ewan Davis
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One very long summer some men came to the forest behind my house and cut down all the trees. The noise of the machinery lasted from 7am till 8pm most days. There were trucks which swarmed around this Queen-like machine, long and bulbous, which, in one motion, cut the trees from their bases, flipped them vertical, and stripped them of their branches. All gears and blades and noise. Once the weeks had passed and they had stripped the hillside bare, I mourned, because I had lost a part of my life, ...more
Andrew Liptak
Sep 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

One of the latest books that I’ve read recently is John Steinbeck’s To A God Unknown, his second novel, and a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. The story, which looks to the Bible, ancient myths, paganism and several other influences, weaves together a story about belief and faith, mixing reality and fantasy in what I would really call a speculative fiction novel.

Set in the 1800s, the book follows the story of the Joseph Wayne, a Vermonter, who yearns to go out west, and receiving the
Nov 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
as one of steinbeck's earliest works (his second novel), to a god unknown is not nearly as refined, cohesive, or accomplished an effort as the ones that followed. the sheer ambition and determination with which steinbeck set about writing this book, however, may not have been matched at any other point in his career. initially adapting the book's theme from an unfinished stage play by one of his stanford classmates, steinbeck labored for five years (longer than with any other of his works) and, ...more
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In To a God Unknown, Steinbeck uses allegory to explicitly advance the philosophy of Nietzsche's Übermensch.

After meeting an old man "over the range" and witnessing the sunset sacrifice of a pig at his hands, Joseph asks: "Why do you do this?" After the two engage a back-and-forth dialogue, the old man hits his point: "I do it for myself. I can't tell that it does not help the sun. But it is for me. In the moment, I am the sun. Do you see? I, through the beast, am the sun. I burn in th
Oct 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can always count on a Steinbeck to break the streak of crappy, 2-star reads. I love how I can always return to him, with a book I’ve never really heard of, and immediately fall back in step with his style, his worldview, and completely love his message.

Apparently this is his second book, and you can clearly see how he’s building up to his greater works, laying the foundation for themes to be developed throughout the course of his writing career. Though clearly in his second tier under Grapes,
Lavinia Zamfir
This is Steinbeck's second novel after the unsuccessful Cup of Gold. I've ended up reading it because I've seen the book at the public library and I said why not, I liked every single Steinbeck novel I've read. And I liked this one too!

As Joseph Wayne decides to move out his family's ranch, he starts wandering around in order to find a place of his own. He eventually records his homestead in the Nuestra Senora valley. He later finds out his father has died and begins to think of the great oak tr
Uncle Tootie
Apr 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"One man had been notable for his height, another ugly and fat, but that was changing. The dancers lost identity. Faces grew rapt, shoulders fell slightly forward, each person became a part of the dancing body, and the soul of the body was the rhythm." p.90

"He saw the crucified Christ hanging on his cross, dead and stained with blood. There was no pain in his face, now he was dead, but only disappointment and perplexity, and over these, an infinite sadness." p.173

This is one of Steinbeck's first
May 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Early on To a God Unknown put me in mind of East of Eden, Steinbeck's great novel which was written much later. At first I found the prose a little stiff; not so much the comfortable flow of Steinbeck that I have come to enjoy so much. But as it moves along, the writing comes into its own. It is a good story, but it is the writing that makes it so good, as usual with Steinbeck. It moves along on its steady pace and then there is a thing that happens, and it grabs us, and we, the reader, are caug ...more
I really want to give To a God Unknown more that three stars, because it's more than an average kind of novel. I wouldn't call it boring in places, but rather "trying". It requires patience and a blind belief from the reader that in the end this slow, seemingly pointless plot will pay off. And that's a lot to ask from a reader. I do trust John Steinbeck, so I stuck around until the end. I'm glad I did. There is nothing shocking or impactful that happens in the finale, but after turning the last ...more
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John Steinbeck III was an American writer. He wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939 and the novella Of Mice and Men, published in 1937. In all, he wrote twenty-five books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and several collections of short stories.

In 1962 Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Steinbeck grew up in the Salinas Valley
“There are some times...when the love for people is strong and warm like a sorrow.” 63 likes
“Life cannot be cut off quickly. One cannot be dead until the things he changed are dead. His effect is the only evidence of his life. While there remains even a plaintive memory, a person cannot be cut off, dead. And he thought, “It’s a long slow process for a human to die. We kill a cow, and it is dead as soon as the meat is eaten, but a man’s life dies as a commotion in a still pool dies, in little waves, spreading and growing back toward stillness.” 22 likes
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