A new appraisal of Dos Passos's work and life, Toward a Modernist Style describes both the central currents in his early work, and his full participation in literary modernism, culminating in his U.S.A. trilogy, as well as the relationship of these currents to those of an especially vibrant period in American expression.
Donald Pizer charts the evolution of Dos Passos's artistic sensibility from its largely conventional expression at the start of the 1920s to the radical formal experimentation of U.S.A. at its close. He places this development in Dos Passos's writing in the context of contemporary ideas about art and society. Pizer also looks at the important roles that Dos Passos's expatriation and his relationship with Ernest Hemingway played in his work as well as his efforts as a painter and their relationship to his literary art.
Toward a Modernist Style is both an incisive guide to a major American modernist as well as an exploration of the wider currents that created literary modernism in the early twentieth century.