John Dos Passos

(1896-1970 / Chicago, Illinois)

John Dos Passos Quotes

  • ''The responsible business men of this country put their shoulders to the wheel. It is in response to this universal demand that we are founding today, All-American Airways.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Produced by the New Playwrights Theatre in New York in the spring of 1929. J.P. Davis in Airways, Inc. Act 2, Three Plays, Harcourt, Brace and Company (1934). Davis is a Realtor, promoter and chair of the Citizens' Fairplay League; the name of the Airline gives the play its name.
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  • ''Of one thing I can assure you with comparative certainty, whoever wins, Europe will be economically ruined. This war is America's great opportunity.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. J.W. Moorehouse in The Forty-Second Parallel, of the trilogy U.S.A., The Modern Library, Random House, Inc. (1937). Spoken on the eve of the First World War.
  • ''Mealtime's the only time I get to devote to the things of the spirit.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. J.W. Moorehouse in The Forty-Second Parallel, of the trilogy U.S.A., The Modern Library, Random House, Inc. (1937).
  • ''But what's the good of freedom? What can you do with it? What one wants is to live well and have a beautiful house and be respected by people.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Originally published in 1922. Jeanne in Three Soldiers, Houghton Mifflin Company (1964). Comment of a French woman during the First World War.
  • ''Perhaps you can tell me why in this country nobody ever does anything. Nobody ever writes any music or starts any revolutions or falls in love. All anybody ever does is to get drunk and tell smutty stories.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Jimmy Herf in Manhattan Transfer, Houghton Mifflin Company (1925 and 1953).
  • ''If I were sufficiently romantic I suppose I'd have killed myself long ago just to make people talk about me. I haven't even got the conviction to make a successful drunkard.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Jimmy Herf in Manhattan Transfer, Houghton Mifflin Company (1925 and 1953).
  • ''It's almost worth having been in the army for the joy your freedom gives you.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Originally published in 1922. John Andrews in Three Soldiers, Houghton Mifflin Company (1964).
  • ''"The Greeks used to say," he said bitterly, using a phrase that had been a long time on his mind, "that when a man became a slave, on the first day he lost one-half of his virtue."''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Originally published in 1922. John Andrews in Three Soldiers, Houghton Mifflin Company (1964).
  • ''A curious thing about atrocity stories is that they mirror, instead of the events they purport to describe, the extent of the hatred of the people that tell them.
    Still, you can't listen unmoved to tales of misery and murder.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Journeys Between Wars, "Introduction to Civil War 1916-1937," Harcourt Brace and Company (1938).
  • ''When the typewriter stops in a New York office everybody's embarrassed; men start to quarrel or to make love to the stenographer or drop lighted cigarettes in the wastebasket.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Journeys Between Wars, "Russian Visa: 1. Brooklyn to Helsingfors," Harcourt Brace and Company (1938).

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