RE: RARA-AVIS: Dos Passos, Steinbeck & others

From: Robison Michael R CNIN (
Date: 01 Apr 2003

Richard Moore wrote:

Actually the 42ND PARALLEL is one of the novels in the USA trilogy. It's been many years since I read the trilogy but I do recall it getting tedious at times. I would recommend MANHATTEN TRANSFER (1925) a one-shot for those wanted to sample Dos Passos in his best remembered style. I like Dos Passos

a lot. His magazine and newspaper pieces, as assembled in many collections are well worth seeking out.
  Miker, I do think you would enjoy B. Traven. He hated all governments. Beyond the well-known TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (a novel I have reread more than any other single book), try his THE DEATH SHIP for a tough novel that also reflects his hatred of bureaucrats and such things as passports. THE COTTON-PICKERS also comes to mind.

*************** Thanks, Richard. I'm planning on reading both those Traven books you mention. I can't imagine a better recommendation. If I recall correctly, THE DEATH SHIP harkens back to the Twenties. I think I'll read it this fall when I take a couple months and read some of the precursors to hardboiled, like the hobo books, Bret Harte, Ring Lardner, Jack London, and Owen Wister. I might even have to reread HUCKLEBERRY FINN.

Immediate reading plans call for me to eat all them nasty words I wrote about short stories and start digging in to the Twenties and Thirties stuff. I've got Nolan's (?) BLACK MASK BOYS and Ruehm's collection, a few Bellem stories I never got around to finishing, and collections by Hugh Cave, Nebel, and Whitfield. I'll switch off between this reading theme and Australian with a few Southern Gothics tossed into the mix. WAHOOOO! Gonna be a great spring and summer. Oh! By the way... we got the boat back in the lake for the season. That's another wahoo. ;-)

Just as an aside, I hear that Dos Passos went from the obvious flaming liberal in his earlier years to an embittered conservative in his latter years, and that his prose perhaps suffered for it. The comment I read said that towards the end of his life he was no longer read. Just what I read. I think the "no longer read" is perhaps a bit stiff.

Thanks again, miker

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