John Dos Passos, or, Modern Life-Writing (SAMLA. Nov 9-11, 2012. Durham, NC)
John Dos Passos's works consistently register the modernist and late-modernist historical moment—often drawing heavily on the autobiographical, if not exactly working within the conventions of memoir. The Camera Eye passages of the U.S.A. trilogy, the variations on memoir in his travel narratives, the fictionalized autobiography of Adventures of a Young Man or Chosen Country—Dos Passos's career exhibits an sustained interest in autobiographical and semi-autobiographical writing. This panel seeks to explore Dos Passos's works in the framework of the SAMLA conference theme, "Text as Memoir: Tales of Travel, Immigration, and Exile." What is the role of subjective experience in Dos Passos's text, and in modernist writing? How does Dos Passos's autobiographical material inform his works' treatment of major issues of the modern period, such as migration, expatriation, war, technological advancement, and revolution? What is the relationship between autobiographical writing and formal experiment, between autobiography and genre? Aiming to reinvigorate the study of Dos Passos's works, this panel invites a range of projects investigating his writing of the self.
This panel is organized by the John Dos Passos Society. Please submit your 250-word abstract, with your name and affiliation and any A/V requests, as a Word document to JDPSociety@gmail.com no later than 2 July 2012 for consideration.