Daniel Aaron's chapter on Dos Passos, footnote 12
12. The quotation ending "emerging today" is by Alan Calmer in *NR*,
LXXI (July 20, 1932), p. 264. Commenting on Hart Crane's death,
Calmer remarked that had Crane been born a decade later, he might
have been saved by Communism. Dos Passos's advice to middle-class
liberals is in his article "Back to Red Hysteria!" *NR*, LXIII (July 2,
1930), p. 169. See also his "Wanted: An Ivy Lee for Liberals," NR, LXIII
(Aug. 13, 1930), pp. 371-72, and his "Intellectuals in America," *NM,
VI (Aug. 1930), p. 8, with a reply by Robert Evans (Joseph Freeman),
pp. 8-9. The theme running through an these articles was the
importance of attracting the ideologically salvageable elements of the
middle class for the revolution. Dos Passos, with his Veblenian bent, felt
they could be found among "the engineers, scientists, independent
manual craftsmen writers, artists, actors, technicians of one sort or
another." Freeman acknowledged that such people under "the pressure
of economic depression" might swing to the working class, but the writer
himself must not waste his time by "seeking impossible middUe roads."
He must use his talents to paint the horrors of capitalism.
For evidence of Soviet interest in Dos Passos's work, see issues of
*International Literature*, especially between 1932 and 1934. Two
writers ask him in an open letter to come out in the press against
imperialism (Nos. 2 and 3, 1932, p. 109). A report of an organized
discussion of his work held in Moscow in the spring of 1933 contains
friendly criticisms and high praise: "What's good in Dos Passos? That he
is seeking. That he is active and hates the old world. That he has
experienced in his own skin the meaning of peace and war (capitalistic).
That he is broad. That he is candid. That he is simple (*cries of*—'Yes!
yes!')" (No. 5, 1933-1934, p. 108). A review of two Soviet productions of
Fortune Heights (running simultaneously in Moscow) by David Mirsky
(No. 3, 1934, pp. 152-54).
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