Sinclair Lewis

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Sinclair Lewis was an American novelist of the jazz age. His writing style was realist/modernist. He won the Pulitzer Prize (which he refused, claiming that the prizes awarded to authors stifled individuality) for his 1925 novel Arrowsmith, then in 1930 became the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature (which he accepted), for his 1922 novel Babbitt. Lewis also wrote Main Street, a satire of small-town petit-bourgeois America as dull, narrow-minded and hypocritical; Elmer Gantry, the story of a corrupt and materialistic minister; and It Can't Happen Here, a cautionary tale of the coming of fascism to the United States.

Lewis studied at Yale University, becoming an atheist[1] and "card-carrying socialist." He lived for a time at "a sort of commune" started by Upton Sinclair, the future Socialist Party candidate for governor of California. When Jack London, the socialist candidate for mayor of Oakland, California, went to Yale to speak for socialism, Lewis met him.[2]

By 1909 Lewis was at the artists' colony in Carmel, California, along with his classmate William Rose Benét. Benét would be one of 50 "dupes and fellow travelers" featured by Life magazine attending the 1949 "Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace," hosted by the Communist-front National Council of Arts, Sciences, and Professions, "dominated by intellectuals who fellow-travel the Communist line," attended by delegates from Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia, and providing "a sounding board for Communist propaganda."[3]

Lewis was very heavily influenced by George Bernard Shaw.[4]

See also

Notes

  1. "Religion: Atheist's Oath," Time, August 20, 1928
  2. Gore Vidal, "The Romance of Sinclair Lewis," The New York Review of Books, Vol. 39, No. 16 (October 8, 1992)
  3. "Dupes and Fellow Travelers Dress Up Communist Fronts," Life, vol. 26, No. 14, (April 4, 1949), p. 43
  4. Martin Bucco, "Bernard Shaw in Sinclair Lewis, SHAW The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies, Volume 21, 2001, pp. 133-141
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