John Dos Passos

(1896-1970 / Chicago, Illinois)

John Dos Passos Quotes

  • ''Remember that it's never a crime in the face of humanity and enlightenment to distribute the works of the great humanists among the merchants and moneychangers of this godforsaken country... You better slip me the dough.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Doc Bingham of Truthseeker Co., in The Forty-Second Parallel, of the trilogy U.S.A., The Modern Library, Random House, Inc. (1937). Spoken to Fainy McCreary after they have been furtively selling books on a train.
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  • ''What's the use, there never was a woman living who could understand political ideas.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Don Stevens in 1919, of the trilogy U.S.A., The Modern Library, Random House, Inc. (1937). Said for the benefit of Eveline Hutchins, his female audience.
  • ''When she asked him about birth control, he sat down beside her and talked for half an hour about what a great woman Margaret Sanger was and how birthcontrol was the greatest single blessing to mankind since the invention of fire.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Don Stevens in 1919, of the trilogy U.S.A., The Modern Library, Random House, Inc. (1937). Speaking to Eveline Hutchins.
  • ''Madame Soubrine asked me to tell everybody it was nothing, absolutely nothing. Just a little blaze in a pile of rubbish.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Ellen Thatcher in Manhattan Transfer, Houghton Mifflin Company (1925 and 1953). In this late scene of the novel, Thatcher reveals her insensitivity to the injuries of burned and moaning workers she has just seen.
  • ''The people of Western Europe are facing this summer a series of tragic dilemmas. Of the hopes that dazzled the last twenty years that some political movement might tend to the betterment of the human lot, little remains above ground but the tattered slogans of the past.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. "Farewell To Europe," Common Sense (July 1937).
  • ''Love is cheap. You can buy it anywhere. Lives are cheap. It's money that's dear. You have to work days and sit up nights thinking how to make money.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Originally performed as The Moon Is A Gong in 1925 by the Harvard Dramatic Club. Fat man in The Garbage Man, pt. 1, sc. 4, Three Plays, Harcourt, Brace and Company (1934).
  • ''This ain't a war.... It's a goddam whorehouse.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Fred Summers in 1919, of the trilogy U.S.A., The Modern Library, Random House, Inc. (1937). Description of the European theater in the First World War.
  • ''Display advertising and the movies, though they may dull the wits, certainly stimulate the eyes.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, and painter. "Grosz Comes to America," Esquire (September 1936). Written in a discussion of the artist George Grosz.
  • ''Git an eyeful of cesspool alley the land of opportunity.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Gus Moscowski in The Big Money, of the trilogy U.S.A., The Modern Library, Random House, Inc. (1937). Spoken to the character Mary French.
  • ''Talk is a pure art. Its only limits are the patience of listeners who, when they get tired, can always pay for their coffee or change it with a friendly waiter and walk out.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. In All Countries, "The Republic of Honest Men," Harcourt, Brace and Company (1934). Commentary about cafe life in Spain.

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