John Donne: The Critical Heritage

By Barry Maine | Go to book overview
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ONE MAN’S INITIATION—1917

London, October 1920; New York, June 1922

8.

Lloyd R. Morris, ‘Dos Passos in Perspective’, New York Times Book Review

18 June 1922, 17, 22

Dos Passos’s first novel was not reviewed in its first edition and very likely would not have been reprinted or reviewed at all had it not been for the popular success of Three Soldiers in 1921. Morris (1893-1954) was an American literary critic and author of books on Nathaniel Hawthorne, E.A. Robinson, and William James. Half the space of this review was devoted to Rosinante to the Road Again, Dos Passos’s collection of travel essays on Spain, which Morris found equally ‘impressionistic’.

The almost simultaneous publication in this country of John Dos Passos’s first and his latest books should be a source of satisfaction to an increasing number of readers interested in the work of the younger American writers. For these books not only afford a perspective of the progress of his talent, but indicate certain conclusions as to its depth and power which the much-debated Three Soldiers tentatively suggested but never wholly confirmed.

The dominant passions in which the whole of his work is grounded are a fierce hunger for beauty and a vigorous enthusiasm for absolute, primitive liberty. These, it may be noted, are not characteristic of the intellectualist of the man to whom experience is a matter for logical cogitation. They are attributes primarily of the lyric temperament, exuberant in emotional response to experience, nervously aware of the shifting play of its colors on the spirit, mysteriously sensitive to every contact with the external

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