Degree Year

2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

English

Advisor(s)

T.S. McMillin

Keywords

New York City, Manhattan Transfer, John Dos Passos, Modernism, Spatial form theory, Transit, Transfer, Transportation, Walt Whitman, William Dean Howells

Abstract

John Dos Passos' Manhattan Transfer (1925) follows dozens of characters through modern New York City. The novel is organized as a fragmented montage and, in this paper, I argue that transit functions as both a central theme and the structuring principle of the text. I compare Manhattan Transfer to works by Walt Whitman and William Dean Howells and draw upon spatial form theory to examine how experiences of urban transportation influence literary forms. Ultimately, I suggest that Manhattan Transfer's modernist form offers readers itinerant ways of perceiving the complicated networks of which cities are made.

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