John Dos Passos - Life Stories, Books, and Links
Biographical Information

Stories about John Dos Passos

Selected works by this author

Selected books about / related to this author

Recommended links
Picture of John Dos Passos, author of the U.S.A. Trilogy (also USA Trilogy) -- The 42nd Parallel, 1919, The Big Money; essayist, poet, and novelist; twentieth century American Literature and poetry
John Dos Passos   (1896 - 1970)
Category:  American Literature
Born:  January 14, 1896
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died:  September 28, 1970
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Related authors:
Ernest Hemingway, Sinclair Lewis
list all writers
John Dos Passos - LIFE STORIES
9/28/1970     Dos Passos and U.S.A.
On this day in 1970 John Dos Passos died at the age of seventy-four. He is now one of the more forgotten Lost Generation writers, but the U.S.A. trilogy (The 42nd Parallel, 1919, The Big Money, published 1930-36) was important reading in the forties and fifties, both for its angry indictment of the "prosperity myth" and its "stream-of-society" style.
top of page
The Best Times: An Informal Memoir
U.S.A. : The 42nd Parallel / 1919 / The Big Money
TinL Premium Members save 10% on every order! (please login)
top of page
John Dos Passos
by Lisa Nanney
TinL Premium Members save 10% on every order! (please login)
top of page
Book Excerpt: Writers of the Left
Offers a chapter from Daniel Aaron's book in which the author traces Dos Passos' involvement in leftist politics from 1916, through to his renunciation of communism during the Spanish Civil War.

"The radicalism of Dos Passos simmered in the early twenties, boiled furiously between 1927 and 1932, and began to cool thereafter. At no time did he consider joining the Communist Party, but he supported it during his fellow-traveling stage as the successor to the I.W.W. and as the 'arch-enemy' of privilege. In the public eye, however, if not his own, his association with The New Masses and with the radical writers of the New Playwrights Theatre from 1927 to 1929, linked him with the revolutionary movement; and his own Airways, Inc. (1928) -- packed with suicides, frame-ups, electrocutions -- was a horrendous diatribe against capitalist institutions. He obviously intended it to illustrate what he was calling at this time, 'socially creative ideas . . . the new myth that's got to be created to replace the imperialist prosperity myth if the machinery of American life is ever to be gotten under social control.'"
John Dos Passos (1896 – 1970)
Find a lesson plan for teaching U.S.A.. Includes classroom issues and strategies, notes on major themes, historical perspectives, personal issues, form, style, and artistic connections, and suggested topics for discussion and comparison.

"To appreciate 'The Body of an American,' students should know something about World War I, which Dos Passos saw and many of his original readers remembered. They should understand such things as the unprecedented carnage of that war (10 million killed and 20 million wounded); the particular brutality of trench warfare; the deeper causes of the war (and of U.S. entry into the war) that lay behind the noble rhetoric; and the irony of racism at home (alluded to in 'The Body of an American') and repression of domestic dissent during and after a war fought, Wilson told Congress, because 'the world must be made safe for democracy.'"
John Dos Passos, Witness to Our Times
A speech about the writer's socialist, communist, and reactionary leanings, and how his philosophical perspectives shaped and influenced his literary endeavors.

"Like Sinclair Lewis, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dos Passos became known as a savage critic of an American culture reeking of vulgar consumerism and social indifference. America had sold its birthright, its sense of democracy, its concern for working people, while dazzled by an array of consumer products. ... His writing burned with both anger and anguish at the tyranny of the captains of industry."
Mark Twain and John Dos Passos on War
An essay companies Twain's "The War Prayer" to "The Body of an American," examining background, themes, and style of both works.

"Despite their different styles, Twain, traditional and fictional, and Dos Passos, modernist and fictional, their are a number of similarities in their works The War Prayer, and The Body of an American (from U.S.A.) The first similarity is, of course, that they both speak out against U.S. involvement in foreign war, but on a much deeper level, they share similar metaphors and rhetoric. ... Twain's work is short and poignant, but remains mysterious unless the reader has a knowledge of his personal politics. Dos Passos uses his Harlem Renaissance style well, and to the reader, the meaning is much more apparent on its own merit. Both works illustrate the intentions of the authors and say them with pleasing language of their own styles. Both texts warn of American involvement in foreign wars, depict how the soldier has become a nameless collective, and each leaves the reader with a sense of resonance."
Online Books Page
Find electronic texts of One Man's Initiation and Three Soldiers.
The Art of Dos Passos
An article examines the author's artistic inclinations and achievements, and how they complemented and affected his writing.

"By spring 1920, John Dos Passos was focused intently on making art, both literary and visual. After arranging his discharge from the U.S. Army in Paris the previous summer, he embarked on an eight-month tour of Spain and Portugal where he immersed himself in what he called 'the poetry of existence.' ... He traveled by boat, train, horse-drawn phaeton, camel caravan, and mail plane. The trip sharpened Dos Passos's sensitivity to the cultural differences between himself and the people he encountered."
top of page

February 24, 2018
memebers Login
The TinL masthead features photography by Natasha D'Schommer , and the book art featured is by Jim Rosenau.
site by erich design
privacy policy »   site map »   »   FAQ’s   »   comments »