Sinclair Lewis Additional Biography

Biography

(Novels for Students)

On February 7, 1885, Lewis was born in the prairie town of Sauk Centre, Minnesota, where he spent a childhood biographers have described as...

(The entire section is 321 words.)

Biography

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Although since Lewis’s works were first published there have been some marked changes in the style of popular novels, his books retain their place in American literature. Not only do they present a picture of an era, the 1920’s, but they also make it uncomfortably obvious that, in some unpleasant ways, American society has not changed very much. Materialism and hucksterism still reign supreme. Prejudice has not been eliminated. Outward show is accepted in place of inward substance. Lewis’s satirical style points up some serious faults, and the passage of time has done little to correct them.

Biography

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Harry Sinclair Lewis was born in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, on February 7, 1885. His father, Edwin J. Lewis, and his mother, Emma F. Kermorr, were schoolteachers, but Edwin Lewis took a two-year medical course in Chicago and practiced as a country doctor, first in Wisconsin and later in Sauk Centre, a small town with a population of twenty-five hundred. The young Sinclair, nicknamed Red because of the color of his hair, was the third of three sons. His mother died of tuberculosis when he was three years old. Edwin Lewis remarried shortly after her death. The future novelist was an awkward, rather ugly, lonely child with little aptitude for sports or any type of physical exercise. He soon became an ardent reader, and at an early age,...

(The entire section is 735 words.)

Biography

(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

ph_0111200562-Lewis_S.jpg Sinclair Lewis. Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Sinclair Lewis was the son of a conservative, highly respected physician in the small town of Sauk Centre, Minnesota. His birthplace had not too long before been wild prairie populated by pioneers and native American tribes and retained the wooden sidewalks and hitching posts of that era. The heroic individualism of the pioneers would always be a standard by which he would judge the small-minded conformity into which he felt his town and the country had descended.

An imaginative child, Lewis was also influenced by tales of medieval Camelot and the Holy Grail, which offered another vantage point by which to judge the staid Sauk Centre. Lewis felt like an outsider in a town that valued the sports and popularity over intellectual and artistic gifts. This sense of alienation and isolation would follow him the rest of his life. His admission to Yale University liberated him from Sauk Centre but did nothing to assuage his sense of dissatisfaction. Demonstrating a restless need for movement and change, during his college years Lewis worked his way to England on a cattle boat two separate summers, went to Panama to work on the Canal, and left school for a time to join an experimental commune run by crusading novelist Upton Sinclair. It was with his first major novel in 1920, a derisive satire of Sauk Centre titled Main Street, that Lewis became a prominent voice for the decade’s new, defiant spirit. His identity as a serious satirist was consolidated with subsequent novels written during the 1920’s, all of which questioned the myth of small-town America as the ideal place to lead the good life. Instead, American small towns are depicted as promulgating narrowness, conformity, and mediocrity.

Lewis capped the most creative period of his life when, in 1930, he became the first American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. In his address to the Swedish Academy he suggested that the serious writer in America would always be an outsider, as Lewis had been for his entire life. Lewis was, indeed, an isolated man. His two marriages ended in divorce, and he died alone in Rome of heart disease. His ashes, however, were returned for burial in Sauk Centre, a town that gave him not only his great subject but also his identity as a social critic.

Biography

(Critical Guide to Censorship and Literature)

Author Profile

A prolific and provocative writer of newspaper editorials, magazine articles, and novels, Sinclair Lewis joined such literary contemporaries as H. L. Mencken and Sherwood Anderson in condemning the “village virus” affecting small towns throughout America. Lewis’ novel Main Street (1920) established his reputation as a social satirist with its meticulous depiction of a stifling and reactionary small town in Minnesota. His cynical dissatisfaction with post-World War I American life seemed even stronger in Babbitt (1922), a portrait of a corrupt real estate agent which exposes the pomposity, materialism, and vulgarity beneath the pretenses of American business.

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(The entire section is 941 words.)

Biography

(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

The literary decade of the 1920’s was dominated by two figures: H. L. Mencken and Sinclair Lewis, who, more than any other writers, gave to that era of “debunking” its special tone. Harry Sinclair Lewis was born in Sauk Centre, Minnesota (fictionalized by Lewis as “Gopher Prairie”), on February 7, 1885, the third son of Dr. Emmet J. Lewis, who furnished him with part of the character of Arrowsmith. Lewis attended Sauk Centre public schools from 1890 to 1902. (In 1898, he left home to enlist as a drummer boy in the Spanish-American War, but his father apprehended him.) From 1901 to 1903, he held odd jobs as typesetter and minor newswriter for two Sauk Centre newspapers, the Herald and Avalanche. He spent...

(The entire section is 1126 words.)

Biography

(Novels for Students)

Harry Sinclair Lewis, best known as Sinclair Lewis, was born on February 7, 1885, in Sauk Centre, Minnesota. His father was a physician. In...

(The entire section is 362 words.)

Biography

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Harry Sinclair Lewis was born in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, on February 7, 1885, the youngest of three sons of a country doctor, Edwin J. Lewis. One year after the death of Harry’s tubercular mother, Emma, in 1891, his father married Isabel Warner, whom Lewis felt was psychically his own mother. Unlike his older brother, Claude, Harry cared nothing for sports, was not popular in school, and received little praise from his father. So, like so many lonely children, he found solace in books, read voraciously, and began writing regularly in diaries which he kept throughout his life.

Fred, the eldest son, dropped out of school and worked as a miller all of his life. Claude, however, was a constant success and an example...

(The entire section is 1112 words.)

Biography

(Novels for Students)

Harry Sinclair Lewis was born in 1885 in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, a small town on the Central Plains that provided the inspiration for Main...

(The entire section is 482 words.)