This essay takes a literary journey to Jack London State Historic Park, the National Steinbeck Center, and the Beat Museum. An exploration of the shrines that are devoted to writers and which attract readers from around the world as well as close to home, the essay explores California’s identity as a cultural destination for tourists as well as for natives of the Golden State. By linking specific geographical places, such as Glen Ellen, Salinas, and San Francisco to books and to their authors, California’s literary shrines weave a kind of cultural magic that transcends time and place and invigorates twentieth-century classics such as Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, Kerouac’s On the Road, and Jack London’s The Iron Heel.

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