John Dos Passos: The 42nd Parallel

(2411 words)

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 …

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Afflerbach, Ian. "The 42nd Parallel". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 December 2011
[, accessed 30 June 2015.]