John Dos Passos

(1896-1970 / Chicago, Illinois)

John Dos Passos Quotes

  • ''It's easy to forget how central the French people are in everything we mean when we say Europe.''
    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).
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  • ''If there is a special Hell for writers it would be in the forced contemplation of their own works, with all the misconceptions, the omissions, the failures that any finished work of art implies.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. "Looking Back on U.S.A.," New York Times (October 25, 1959).
  • ''When you're outa luck in this man's country, you certainly are outa luck.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Mac in The Forty-Second Parallel, of the trilogy U.S.A., The Modern Library, Random House, Inc. (1937). Said for the benefit of his friend Ike Hall, who has "a dose" and is penniless.
  • ''A man's got to work for more than himself and his kids to feel right.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Mac in The Forty-Second Parallel, of the trilogy U.S.A., The Modern Library, Random House, Inc. (1937).
  • ''That is what we must make people feel... the catch in the throat, the wrench to steady the nerves, the determination to carry on.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Major J.W. Moorehouse in 1919, of the trilogy U.S.A., The Modern Library, Random House, Inc. (1937). On the subject of instilling greater feeling of support for the war effort during the First World War.
  • ''Through dinner she felt a gradual icy coldness stealing through her like novocaine. She had made up her mind. It seemed as if she had set the photograph of herself in her own place, forever frozen into a single gesture.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Manhattan Transfer, Houghton Mifflin Company (1925 and 1953). Description of Ellen Thatcher at the moment when she decides to marry George Baldwin, a man whom she does not love, rather than Jimmy Herf.
  • ''The people of this country are too tolerant. There's no other country in the world where they'd allow it... After all we built up this country and then we allow a lot of foreigners, the scum of Europe, the offscourings of Polish ghettos to come and run it for us.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Mr. Wilkinson in Manhattan Transfer, Houghton Mifflin Company (1925 and 1953). In reference to U.S. immigration policy.
  • ''Accidents will happen in the best regulated families.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Mr. Wilkinson in Manhattan Transfer, Houghton Mifflin Company (1925 and 1953).
  • ''People don't choose their careers; they are engulfed by them.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist. New York Times (Oct. 25, 1959).
  • ''Vat is the use being a big man if you are wrong?''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. old Vogel in The Forty-Second Parallel, of the trilogy U.S.A., The Modern Library, Random House, Inc. (1937). Spoken of Robert La Follete.

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