New Annotated Manhattan Transfer

I’ve started digging into Donald Pizer’s new annotated version of Manhattan Transfer and it’s awesome. Here is a very helpful note on page 3 that explains the context of the title: “During this period, [1896 to 1904] rail passengers wishing to cross the Hudson River from New Jersey to Manhattan left the train at the… Read more »

What did New York City look like in 1911?

An extraordinary piece of film modernization–check out this footage of New York City in 1911, originally shot by a Swedish film crew. It’s been adjusted in various ways to give a modern feel. Beyond the general historical value, it provides a deep sensory experience of the time period covered by John Dos Passos’s Manhattan Transfer… Read more »

Centennial of One Man’s Initiation

On the 100th anniversary of the publication of John Dos Passos’s first published novel, One Man’s Initiation, scholar par excellence Lisa Nanney writes about the novel’s significance at the Liverpool University Press blog. Included in the blog post is a rare pastel crayon sketch of my grandfather’s. It’s eerie and evocative.

Dos Passos in The New Yorker

What a splendid way to end the year! Yesterday, The New Yorker published a re-appraisal of John Dos Passos’ U.S.A. trilogy. These “second reads” of his books are rare indeed and this one makes great points about JDP’s relevance today. “The line for which Dos Passos is best known comes from his anguished account, in… Read more »

Boston ALA

Successful meeting of the John Dos Passos Society last week at the annual conference of the American Literature Association in Boston, MA. Presenters and representatives from Spain, Japan, Sweden, and the United States. Dos Passos led an international, multicultural life, and scholars regularly fly from around the world to seek fellowship in JDP studies. The… Read more »

Apollo 11

Except for Midcentury (1961), my grandfather John Dos Passos had great trouble selling books and earning critical acclaim with his books after the U.S.A trilogy (1938). Yet, contrary to the critical consensus that still damages his legacy, his pen did not suddenly and irrevocably become inert from 1938-1970. Some of his last works were his… Read more »

Portuguese Surnames in America: dos Passos and Pereira

Again, per Miguel Oliveira‘s book on John Dos Passos as immigrant, many Portuguese-American immigrants change their surnames to assimilate into American culture. “dos Passos” became “Dos Passos” (a relatively small change) and, in other families, “Pereira” became “Perry.” Super-famous American singer, Steve Perry, the voice of Journey and “Don’t Stop Believin’,” was born in Hanford,… Read more »

Portuguese-Americans in New England

Traditionally, many Portuguese coming to the United States have settled in New England, in Massachusetts or Maine, along the coast. My grandfather in fact lived many years, happily, in Provincetown, among the seamen and artists. Reading portions of Miguel Oliveira’s wonderful book, From a Man without a Country to an American by Choice: John Dos… Read more »