IntroductionCruel treatment is something Sinclair Lewis had to deal with throughout most of his life. He was taunted as a child and young man for his somewhat unattractive looks. Perhaps because of that, he developed a critical, satirical voice and wrote mostly about the flaws in American society and capitalism. He started out writing more popular magazine stories but quickly turned to realistic novels that quickly won acclaim. In 1920, he finished what was called “the most sensational event in twentieth-century American publishing history,” his novel Main Street. Within a few years, it had sold two million copies and is still read and studied to this day. Although very critical of his own works, he received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1930, the first American novelist ever given the award.
- Lewis was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1926 for his novel Arrowsmith, but he turned down the award. He didn't feel like he deserved it.
- His novel Elmer Gantry was banned in Boston and several other cities around the country. This led the way for his later books to be banned as well.
- One of his most famous quotes is the following: “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”
- Shortly after graduating from Yale, Lewis made a partial living by selling plots to famous authors...including Jack London.
- After struggling with alcohol abuse for many years, Lewis died at the age of 66 of advanced alcoholism.
All Resources by Category
- Arrowsmith - Literary Characters
- Arrowsmith - Literary Places
- Babbitt - Cyclopedia of Literary Characters
- Babbitt - Cyclopedia of Literary Places
- Babbitt - Identities and Issues in Literature
- Cass Timberlane - Literary Characters
- Cass Timberlane - Literary Places
- Dodsworth - Literary Characters
- Dodsworth - Literary Places
- Elmer Gantry - Censorship
- Elmer Gantry - Literary Places
- Main Street - Identities and Issues in Literature
- Main Street - Literary Characters
- Main Street - Literary Places
- Sinclair Lewis - Critical Survey of Long Fiction
- Sinclair Lewis Censorship
- Babbitt - Masterplots, Revised Second Edition
- Babbitt Study Guide
- Elmer Gantry - Masterplots, Revised Second Edition
- Elmer Gantry Study Guice
- Main Street - Masterplots, Revised Second Edition
- Main Street Study Guide (eNotes)
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