John Dos Passos, The 42nd Parallel

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John Dos Passos’

The 42nd Parallel

was first published in 1930, and in 1938 was released with

1919

and

The Big Money

as the complete

U.S.A.

trilogy. The first volume opens at the dawn of a new century, and introduces both the formal divisions—Newsreel, Camera Eye, biographies, and narratives—as well as many of the characters that reappear throughout all three sections of this monumental work of American modernism.

Lacking a true protagonist, The 42nd Parallel tracks the struggles and successes of its five principle characters across an enormous geographic landscape, from the bustling urban space of New York and Chicago, past glimpses at the life of migrant labor in Middle America, to the tumultuous politics of México City. According to Michael Denning, the title refers to “an 1865

2280 words

Citation: Afflerbach, Ian. "The 42nd Parallel". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 December 2011 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=1665, accessed 23 June 2024.]

1665 The 42nd Parallel 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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