1. An early draft of John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men was eaten by his dog.
It was Max, one of several dogs Steinbeck owned during his life, who
devoured the novel’s draft
and so became, in effect, the book’s first critic. This is probably Steinbeck’s most famous novel, and draws on his own experiences as a ‘bindlestiff’ (or migratory worker) in the US in the 1920s. The novel’s title famously comes from the Robert Burns poem ‘To a Mouse’: ‘The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley’ (or ‘go often awry’). The original title of the novella was ‘Something That Happened’.
2. In the 1980s, a rumour arose that Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath had been translated into Japanese as ‘The Angry Raisins’. This rumour was, however, false. It is a good example of how people love a good ‘lost in translation’ story, and it…