Dos Passos

Trade Paper – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-2200-0
Publication Date
November 2004
Page Count
688 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Dos Passos

A Life
Virginia Spencer Carr

A New York Times Notable Book

He rose from a childhood as the illegitimate son of a financial titan to become the man Sartre called "the greatest writer of our time." A progressive writer who turned his passions into the groundbreaking U.S.A. trilogy, John Dos Passos later embraced conservative causes. At the height of his career he was considered a peer of Hemingway and Fitzgerald, yet he died in obscurity in 1970.

Award-winning biographer Virginia Spencer Carr examines the contradictions of Dos Passos's life with an in-depth study of the man. Using the writer's letters and journals, and with assistance from the Dos Passos family, Carr reconstructs an epic life, one of literary acclaim and bitter obscurity, restless wandering and happy marriage, friendship with Edmund Wilson and feuds with Hemingway. First published to acclaim in 1984, Dos Passos remains the definitive personal portrait of the author.

About the Author
Virginia Spencer Carr was formerly the John B. and Elena Dìaz-Versòn Chair of English Letters at Georgia State University. Her other works include the forthcoming Paul Bowles: A Life (Scribner, 2004), Understanding Carson McCullers (South Carolina, 1991), and The Lonely Hunter: A Biography of Carson McCullers (Doubleday, 1975), winner of the Francis Butler Simkins Prize of the Southern Historical Society and Longwood College. Carr lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
"Fascinating. It gives us a clearer sense than ever before of what a bizarre personal life lay behind his bitter views of public life.... Thanks to Mrs. Carr's stylishly-written, fact-crammed biography, it is now possible to put together a more plausible explanation of Dos Passos's political odyssey." -New York Times Book Review
"The virtues of this biography result largely from Carr's carefully establishing the facts of Dos Passos's visible progress through the world, including his many travels.... The figure who emerges from this welter of information is thoroughly human and is a sensible and likable and even admirable person." -Washington Post
"[A] solid, detailed biography that attempts to understand not only the novelist but the highly political man who found himself in no man's land: 'too liberal for the conservatives, too conservative for the liberals.'" -National Review