John Dos Passos’ Manhattan Transfer (1925): Naturalism, Modernism, and Radical Politics in the Modern American Novel
John Dos Passos’ Manhattan Transfer (1925) employs modernist and naturalist techniques in its presentation of the simultaneous lives of a bustling New York. Published to great acclaim, the novel was immediately identified as a dazzling and provocative rendering of the new metropolis, but political and aesthetic debates of the twentieth -century have since lessened its importance to understandings of modernism. New critical approaches, drawing attention to the novel’s transnational dimension, its playful use of mass culture, and its place within the politico-aesthetic debates of the twenties and thirties have shed new light on the scope of Dos Passos’ achievement and may revise its importance to understandings of both literary modernism and modern American literature.
Early in Manhattan Transfer, a newspaper headline alerts us to New York...
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