As others read us: American fiction abroad; John Dos Passos, part two
We learned there were things we learned to do we learn to redesign was equivalent to the aircraft carrier the battleship the cruiser the troop crap sport we added the duck the Weasel the landing ship tanks the hosta motor boat flat barges and ingenious shapes the floating Piers that carried the amphibious landings. We learned to roll out nephew a little wee to push the jungle aside with bulldozers to keep our rifles driveway to tide them surf over the shoulder pitted slippery coral we learned to lie on the beach beyond the surge the breakers there to complete silence to bite them all and die. We learned to power to our suppliers to keep the Tigers moving in a steady flow of who's in control ropes part of the position of freighters refrigerator ships floating dry dock repair ships and squared off maps they played a grim part cheesy with a rule that you meant arise the difficulty of supply in proportion to the distance. We learn to refuel at sea in here for that matter. Contracts for everything from one movie ship to another for sixteen infants in sheltered
ice cream freezer. We invented floating babies by reorganizing the notion of the bridge of ships keep a supply line dance and I mean travels on its transport. We changed the rules of war seaward engagement of carrier based planes capital ships hid behind a boat a bloke with a car I'll see that it was dark for my birth time of the great Queen a battle of Midway Island I thought people planes dive bombers are ready to inflict on the Japs and such a decisive defeat at all you owed us blood banks of the civilian defense limited the rest of the world by setting up concentration camps. What do we call the relocation centers. Stuffing into the American citizens of Japanese ancestry PRO HART The danger will live in infamy without benefit if he was covert. I swear loyalty to the United States at least in the War Relocation work or for the duration of the war and for the new year thereafter. I accept whatever paid unspecified at the present time the warrior location authority determines I should be financially responsible for any government property I used
to work cause I did the infraction of any regulations of War Relocation Authority were going to be allowed to drive a suitable punishment. So I'll be gone the present a united states caucuses soon drop a sincere Democrat and some of the members of Congress in the administration they were devout believers in civil liberty now were busy fighting a war we deploy all out for freedom say Iraq they said at the desk in the White House in front of the brightly little sad aging man your man could cripple would have no time part of history or to find the Danube or the Baltic of you not that map so many documents decided to make an interview look very important personages such gloves of a young man. Yes Mr. Breton. No Mr. President it seems we hears you complain on a man and I kind of Eilean virtuoso by modulation to his voice and a microphone he played on the American people. We danced with two thirds of all of them indispensable. Or is it time for Caesars.
The president of the United States automatic great Bushnell current supreme confidence in part of persuasion could have spared himself and pulled through to Brazil in Casablanca or Cairo to negotiate at the level of the leaders in Tehran the triumvirate without asking anybody to leave. Gotta meddling with history without consulting their stage was constituents revamps geography divided up the bloody globe and left the freedoms out of the American people as opposed to say thank you for the century of the common man turned over for relocation behind barbed wire so help him God. We learned there were things we learned to do but we have not learned. It's by the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence that the great debate at Richmond Philadelphia out of one part over the lives of men at the hands of one man and to make him use it wisely. Past it's best to just passes as read is taken from the grand design which is a part of his recent trilogy District of Columbia have
and since most of our earlier discussion centered on the earlier trilogy USAA I wonder whether other critics might think for a moment of differences or perhaps similarities in the reaction both here and abroad and perhaps particularly abroad to the later work of most of those passes that this passage represents. For example Mr. Crowder Oh well what do European readers from your point of view find in the later dust process that they didn't find or perhaps that they didn't find in the earlier Dos Passos but I think they do not know as well as I don't want to because some of it hasn't been translated yet but that is something which is very interesting to notice the recent critics among the foremost critics when they deal with Mr. Dos Passos usually go back to his early work at least
mention the others too. But in prevalence for instance in 1945 many in a book called The Age of America not roads. Two chapters which in my opinion are among the best things we are going to pass of as work. She is very well aware of the later production but the study that she makes is mostly based on us. And that's because it is a proof again of what I was saying a few minutes ago. No matter what a novelist writes a novelist who has brought innovations but your rights later it's always as an innovator that he is going to be considered and admired and respected when it is up and sucked in. Thirty eight
wrote the. Review of 1919. That's again purely philosophical point of view is conception of the novel as being the story of three characters. That the author doesn't lead one way or the other because he wants to but who believes perfectly free to act as he wants and you find a wonderful demonstration of his own conception of the novel which leads him to conclude his article by saying that in his opinion Mr Dos Passos is the greatest contemporary writer. So you see everyone thinks they're right out under the light. We say is that I which is it's firms like like Nicky likes best that he thinks is particularly interesting. I don't think that the an evolution in the
political part some sort of pacifist has had any importance at all for the French people. They don't they don't care whether he has one direction on the other direction as long as you remain an great novelist. Mr. Parsons would you care to comment on Mr. condo's views of the differences between the reaction to your early and later work that is particularly perhaps his view of that that it is as an innovator that you have been most discussed and that you're innovating works perhaps rather than your later ones still stay most in the European mind. Which rather hard to say. I rather think that possibly people looking at things from a distance will be
able will notice that there isn't so much of a young brave as has been made out I think that these same enthusiasms tend to run through in different forms. Most of them were good. For example we haven't referred told to your recent novel chosen country or is there any any aspect of that which which would bear on the on that consideration of your later work as as related to your earlier. Well I think perhaps a chosen country is a lot more positive in trying to work. Pretty into the scheme a year richer and more carbon carbon strand of the American tradition. And I think that it might be discovered that there were a sudden tangible innovations in a totally different form in that
not which is which abandons the here and now method for what I might what I describe as an elegiac method. I hope we're going to get before very long in the program to discussing more specifically some of those technical matters in both your earlier and later work I wonder whether at this point Mr. Levin might have something to add concerning this question of the reaction to the later Dos Passos as related to the reaction to the early nots passes. I think we are still reacting and the returns are not in. It will be more difficult to gauge them for some time because of the changes would perhaps have been even more sharp in the actual situation. The novelist has faced and his audiences and even the novelist himself continuing as Mr Dos Passos may well
demonstrate in the same direction a little while ago he spoke of how writers of his generation managed to formulate certain ideas which became slogans and were utilized later by politicians and people in government. I think we have perhaps there. And the side glances from the passage is just read with regard to President Roosevelt and the New Deal. I think we have the key to the problem because there are still many people who in good faith regard the New Deal as an attempt to answer some of the questions raised by just such works as Mr Dos Passos USA and those who would. This is not the time or place to argue about that subject but I would simply point out that it has an important connection with the receptivity let us say to Mr Dos Passos novels and
to his views at the present moment beyond that I think we must we must recognise the fact that there is an apolitical reaction among younger people interested in literature and in criticism and tendency in novelists to stress nuance and mood rather than the broad panoramic view that Mr Dos Passos has put before us with so much force. I haven't asked Mr dust passes whether he minds being classified as early or late as we sit here talking with him so pleasantly but I think there may be something just a little out of the way in discussing a writer who is still so very much alive and working as hard as he is now and in these elegiac terms perhaps. Well my whole life trying to avoid classification. I can tell you that we've been talking I think primarily about the thought of just
Possum's about what he has told us and told Europe particularly concerning his own country at various points in his career and I wonder whether we might not profitably now move on to an area of his work that has been touched on by all of the speakers in a sense but that I think deserves particularly careful examination especially concerning its impact on the European reading public. That is a dustpan so specific. Has the technical innovator in the novel. And I wonder whether we might not move into a discussion that centers more on this bus passes technique rather than his content if those are separable or taught by asking him to read a passage from one of his earlier works. That does illustrate things that he was contributing to the technique of the novel of his time and again I'd like to ask him to tell us briefly what place the passage that he's going to read has in the novel.
Well he can write high passages were never to give the position of Eve's good you had narratives and what I was trying to do was do well using the montage technique to give a little sudden visitors into the life and motions of the author as a priority for them. Would you tell us the novel that this passage is from this was made out of part of 1999. It I'd be distraught. Oh the method of writing is quite different as perhaps a little beginning of something might be called an ell of Jack's strain when the telegram came that she was dying. Street car wheels screech round the bell of glass like all pencils or all the slaves in all the schools working around Fresh Pond a smell a pot of water will bar
window buds in the role women shrieking in street car wheels rattling on whose trucks were the bottom suburbs Greville new uniform go shock the Boosh and drink wine for supper to Lenox before catching the federal arms on top of our list take them all away when the telegram came that she was dying the belle of last cracked a screech of slate pencils of a woman in not able to sleep for a week in April. And he met me in the great train my eyes were steam with a million products and chrome who literally spinning a poor heels his mustaches or why the tied group of the old man's cheeks she's gone Jack the uniform of the in the parlor of the waxen lilies that wax and all of their lives apart. You know we was very uniform in the river smelled a shimmering proper tool to Potomac reaches a little choppy silver waves of Indian here all mocking birds in a graveyard on the roadside steal
with Bring it well enough to shock the world. When the cable came that he was there I walked through street five apartment really ceiling with Twilight she would accuse of and what I worry every red wine gaslight gas lamp Sun said Pink tile over her eyes lips red cheeks brown hair of the cold climate of the night train at the lawyers station without knowing why. I'm so tired of our lives take them all away. Shouted your attention there are houses that carefully copied but the architectural details a grabber of styles to the end of that book left the art from point A little noisy room the smell of stale olive oil the Post your post I'm all right now that I know he's in a war but we. Who had heard his beautiful reading voice and where the hassle involved in books and breathed deep breathed deep we're on to leave for for the last word lives in the artificial part of our lives said out of the use of coal and sat breakfasting in the library where the
bust was Octavius were not good Cable offers. Other rumble bumping wooden bish on the train slamming through midnight climbing up from the steering to get a win for with Lady Gaga lunging steamship all oval face with his girl and her husband were my friends. Just like the pop I was a little gruff waves exit dialog and close a little smile. A fish to a sea lion that warmed our doctors when the immigration officer came for a passport. He consented to Ellis Island. I could Best Buy New York she was doing washing those windows could be cleaning the spark plugs with a pocket knife. AWOL grinding the American Beauty rollers to dust and that horse bared five you know I'd flame with confirmations or leave the rights of man are going to smell of high explosives sending you sending senior class to the Swedish giving grandiloquence of a running game. Tomorrow I hope will be the first of the first month of the first year.
The camera I have which has just passed as red is a particularly beautiful example I think is one of a quite a number of technical devices which go to make up the very complex structure of USA and I think that I would like to ask Mr. Congo to tell us something about what the European public and perhaps particularly the French reading public thought of this multilevel device that Mr. process became so celebrated for using in USA I think I remember Mr. Quadro that you wrote on this subject in your own at their city. And would you would you tell us something about what these technical contributions for the novel meant to European readers when they meant at least to French readers they meant something which they had no idea that could be done and something which is so so important for them in their recent novels like Sachs novel the novel necklace you'll
see the second novel of antibiotics some use the same device and acknowledges is that too Mr. Dos Passos. There is something that has to be kept in mind if one wants to understand the attitude of a foreign country towards the writer. That's the the time we have this right outcomes and the needs that the country has at that particular time. And I think Mr. non-special was extremely fortunate on these three accounts when he published or at least when the French people knew books like one man's initiation and three soldiers. The Europeans were suffering of what some might call it a sort of restlessness something which explains why an accident creating a claim you could write a book on the lead
out of the time restlessness and reconstruction and in these books which were very early what we've found here all who are suffering from the slime restlessness that same we're in is that same difficulty of finding what to do in sort of our malaise which was extremely European. The later. When the there was a great great interest in timing there's a strong movement which we call cosmopolitanism which started really in 1930 with our board that's burned down a booth in the diary of a gun a booth in the poetry of Donegal. Then it happens that we discovered Mr. Dos Passos writes Ross in L.A. to the
road again Orient Express. Again we found in him a sort of umbrella man who on the other side of the ocean could express the same feeling. So that brought between the two countries through these. This particular writer after Mr. Dos Passos a great Thai something I should say almost like what happened when Board layer discovered the book discovered it on the other side of the ocean there was someone we thought about partly what he himself thought. Then that was also the period when the philosophers got Geimer like towers where interested in studying the collective soul. We increased of the big cities had given birth to poems like vi and if you thought I could. Everybody was thinking big. Becoming conscious that a human being was of course very important
very interesting but a collectivity was more interesting. Maybe. But nobody had found a way of making this city live. He didn't but that didn't really large number of novels but in one novel that hadn't been done because nobody knew how to convey this idea. And Mr. those puzzles did by bringing the combination of the camera eye and the biography and the fiction fictional characters preparing a sort of atmosphere that brings out the characters self and prepares the reader to what he is going to read and that of course was a tremendous discovery. Humans are stuck with this could. You mention other younger novelists of of consequence from your point of view who you feel have been directly influenced
by the supposed process I think is the most the most obvious. I imagine that. Practically all the young writers who are writing what is called the Home Office Live or something to him. I wonder whether you would tell us what off years from from our point of view. Well the hallmark Well we call it. Well I don't know what you would call it it's a sequence of novels thing that I was taught this past three tomes that some French people 27 like I don't know. It would be an improvement. It is an enlargement of the French as we know it is on the console. Yes and therefore And they are not only novelists. So our question of the novel should be taken in consideration. No I could find better examples in the new Spanish
literature and I don't know whether Mr Dos Passos knows about that or what I can tell you thinks that you are going and I think you are going to find very interesting. I have been being in the new Spanish fiction I've been corresponding with a great number of American novels of Spanish novelist young ones and I always ask them who are the authors who had some influence on their formation and they always as far as American writers are concerned always and so are those battles no matter what their political opinions are now all the frankest I suppose since they live in Spain. Without having any trouble with our government. And in 1951. And but going out by another set up card like Amana which was translated in English. Another title of the hive
and I may not as exactly the Spanish Manhattan Transfer about Madrid. Mr. Levin I wonder whether you might have something to add concerning this very interesting picture of Mr. Gus passes as a fructify influence on younger European writers. Yes indeed I think the professor quite OS has presented a very illuminating picture and especially of the nature of mystery Dos Passos innovation his technical innovation in so far as it's affected the structure of the novel. Insofar as it is caught that is similar to the unity which he said he sought and created what the Germans call a const barrack a collective work of art to match the collectivity of modern city life. But I think that perhaps something should be said about Mr Dos Passos as a technician in the room of texture particularly in connection with the passage he read us most recently the camera and I think THIS HOUR ought not to be
allowed to pass without reminding Mr Dos Passos if it does not embarrass him too much that he is he has been and he remains a poet and he is a poet in passages like that I remember one such passage cameras I wear I have as I understand it he is meditating or his observer is meditating after an unsuccessful soapbox speech and reading. I think he says the epigrams of martial in the classics of translation and thinking perhaps of a corrupt empire and somewhere behind that corrupt empire perhaps the dream of a of a hopeful young republic and thinking as he says and I remember there is a parenthesis of power in some way. We can come back and restore. And then the parenthesis follows. I too Walt Whitman cover story book democracy I think I owe it to Walt Whitman expresses very well the elegiac side of Mr..
How does that come through in translation most of us process what would you say. Just what kind of concluding I haven't I don't even have read a translation says Mr Quadro translation of transfer I read quite a lot of that. I don't remember very well since I've wondered that in the course of discussion what one would say about your early reaction to a novelist in the European tongue must Quadro How about what translators do with bus passes to they given to us holes as big. They were very hard and sometimes they can do what they want is one of the most difficult writings to translate. That's perhaps one way of saying that is a particularly individual right. But before finishing I would like to add that going back to Spain two months ago the Nobel Prize was given to a young writer called Raphael Sanchez the last year for a book and a farmer which is not a big city. And your novel art
is what they explain is on the banks of this river with using neon signs posters popular songs and the special slang of the year 1955 which is very much the sentence that what you what you said instead of instead of flour when Long ago I wanted to be here and now. Thank you very much. As good as fast as most of the quandary of the discussion you just heard on the writing and foreign reputation of John Dos Passos is the fourth of a series of programmes and titled as others read us American fiction abroad produced and recorded by the Literary Society of the University of Massachusetts under a grant from the educational television and radio center. This program is distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. Let it be the Radio Network.
- John Dos Passos, part two
- Producing Organization
- University of Massachusetts
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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- Episode Description
- In this program, part two of two, critics Maurice Coindreau and Harry Levin discuss the works of John Dos Passos, Dos Passos himself also speaks on the program.
- Series Description
- This series analyzes European views of the works of American authors.
- Broadcast Date
- American literature--Europe--History and criticism.
- Media type
Guest: Levin, Harry
Guest: Dos Passos, John, 1896-1970
Guest: Coindreau, Maurice Edgar
Moderator: Rudin, Seymour, 1922-
Producing Organization: University of Massachusetts
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 57-22-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “As others read us: American fiction abroad; John Dos Passos, part two,” 1957-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-251fnw94.
- MLA: “As others read us: American fiction abroad; John Dos Passos, part two.” 1957-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-251fnw94>.
- APA: As others read us: American fiction abroad; John Dos Passos, part two. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-251fnw94