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Incomparable EmpiresModernism and the Translation of Spanish and American Literature$
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Gayle Rogers

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780231178563

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231178563.001.0001

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Restaging the Disaster

Restaging the Disaster

Dos Passos, Empire, and Literature After the Spanish-American War

Chapter:
(p.76) Chapter 2 Restaging the Disaster
Source:
Incomparable Empires
Author(s):

Gayle Rogers

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231178563.003.0003

Demonstrates how the young leftist Dos Passos hoped, during World War I, that a collapse of the bourgeoning American empire might be a boon for the American literature he scorned, just as Spain’s imperial loss in 1898 had been for its writers. This chapter situates his work against his own father’s celebrations of “Anglo-Saxon” empire and against his fellow socialist, anti-imperialist, and Hispanophile William Dean Howells’s readings of American literature’s rise and of Spanish realist novels. His contribution, then, is to reduce and unravel “American literature” by using Spain’s imperial decline and literary rise as its comparative foil, a tactic that he ends up reversing in Spain in 1937 when he effects his turn to the political right of US nationalism.

Keywords:   Dos Passos, Nationalism, Empire, Spain, Realism, Howells

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