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Paths to Luso-Americanness: Dos Passos’s Portugal Story

Fernanda Luísa Feneja


Abstract. Although John Dos Passos is best known for his fiction writings, namely Manhattan Transfer and U.S.A., and for the modernist traits of his work, his literary life covered a number of different genres and sub-genres, ranging from narrative fiction to drama and political or travel writing. Dos Passos’s major fiction works illustrate the important role he ascribed to history, a feature that pervades his readings of the American nation. Towards the end of his life and career he eventually showed interest in Portugal, through the writing of The Portugal Story: Three Centuries of Exploration and Discovery. Even though this book is not representative of Dos Passos’s literary production at large, it is important both in terms of his developing relationship with his Portuguese ancestry and in the broader realm of Luso-American studies. This essay aims to discuss how the Portuguese legacy of Dos Passos correlates with his writing career and with his perspective on history and, ultimately, also reflects on the contribution of that dimension to the shaping of a Luso-American identity pattern.


Luso-Americanness, history, historical narrative, Portuguese ancestry, cross-cultural identity

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