RE: RARA-AVIS: Re: RARA-AVIS Digest V5 #102

From: Robison Michael R CNIN (
Date: 28 Mar 2003

I (miker) asked:

"In the 1930s, were there any other writers that wrote hardboiled Proletariat novels besides Dos Passos and Steinbeck?"

Marianne answered:

You might want to investigate James T Farrell, Thomas Wolfe, Faulkner, Erskine Caldwell, Michael Gold, maybe Sinclair Lewis though really too sentimental, Upton Sinclair, Josephine Herbst, Langston Hughes (wrote novels as well as his poetry), Richard Wright?...probably a lot of others now forgotten - and certainly by me.
************* I've read Faulkner, Caldwell, Wolfe, and Sinclair. SANCTUARY and TOBACCO ROAD and LOOK HOMEWARD, ANGEL didn't seem to Proletariat oriented, but those are the only ones I've read. No telling about the others. I've read Sinclair's THE JUNGLE and it's definitely Proletariat, but I think it's way before the 1930s. Just a guess would put it around 1910. I don't know what he wrote in the 1930s. I need to check on that. Somewhere in that time frame he ran for governor of California, didn't he? Hallas is satirizing his economic plan in YOU PLAY THE BLACK AND THE RED COMES UP.

I'm vaguely familiar with Farrell, Lewis, and Hughes. Lewis wrote those two big social satires in the early twenties, BABBITT and MAIN STREET. I've got Farrell's STUDS LONIGAN trilogy waiting for me on the shelf. I'm not aware of them being Proletariat, but I can't say for sure.

I don't know a darn thing about Michael Gold and Josephine Herbst. I'll check into them.

I've read Richard Wright, too, but only NATIVE SON. I'm not sure what else he's done, but off the top of my head I would say he came a little later than the Thirties. I read NATIVE SON in high school. Must have made a big impression. I still remember the really gory parts.

Thank you for the suggestions, Marianne.


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