American Notes: A Darkling Whitman

"History," he wrote years ago, "is a mass-invention, the day dream of a race." It was the American day dream that especially fascinated John Dos Passos. Like a darkling Walt Whitman, he sang of a sprawling, intricate, in many ways desolate, industrial America. Dos Passos had to invent his own form to contain his vision. U.S.A. was a montage of deft biographies, Joycean interior monologues, narrative fictions and fascinating oddments, headlines and snatches of popular songs. His prose-poetry was as varied and fragmented as his pluralistic America.

Dos Passos, who died last...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!