John (Roderigo) Dos Passos 1896–1970
American novelist, essayist, poet, and journalist.
Dos Passos is best known for his sociopolitical novels of pre-World War II America. His central concerns are social injustices, including the exploitation of the working class, and the injurious emphasis on materialism in American society. The U.S.A. trilogy is considered his masterpiece.
Detail and realism are important elements in Dos Passos's work, often emphasized through such innovative means as his "newsreel" and "camera eye" techniques, and the inclusion of biographical excerpts.
Strongly political, Dos Passos moved from his early, left-wing revolutionary philosophy to a later conservatism. The 1950s witnessed a decline in his reputation; however, in recent years scholars have reaffirmed the artistic merit of his innovative methods and re-evaluated his later work.
(See also CLC, Vols. 1, 4, 8, 11, 15; Contemporary Authors, Vols. 1-4, rev. ed., Vols. 29-32, rev. ed. [obituary]; Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Vol. 3; Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vols. 4, 9; and Dictionary of Literary Biography Documentary Series, Vol. 1.)