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Sinclair Lewis

Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951), novelist, playwright

Born Harry Sinclair Lewis on February 7, 1885 in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, he began reading books at a young age and kept a diary. A dreamer, at age 13 he unsuccessfully ran away from home, wanting to become a drummer boy in the Spanish-American War. At first, he produced romantic poetry, then romantic stories about knights and fair ladies. By 1921 he had six novels published .

In 1930, Sinclair Lewis became the first American author to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. The award reflected his ground-breaking work in the 1920s on books such as Main Street[?], Babbitt[?], and Arrowsmith. He was also awarded the Pulitzer Prize for 'Arrowsmith', but declined it because he believed that the Pulitzer was meant for books that celebrated American wholesomeness and his novels, which were quite critical, should not be awarded the prize.

Lewis was innovative for giving strong characterization to modern working women and his concern with race. Restless, he traveled a lot and in the 1920s he would spend time with other great artists in the Montparnasse Quarter in Paris, France where he would be photographed by Man Ray.

Alcohol would play a dominant role in his life and he died of the effects of advanced alcoholism on January 10, 1951, in Rome, Italy.

In 2001, his 1920 book, Main Street[?] would be named to the list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century by the editorial board of the American Modern Library.

Timeline

References

  • Mark Schorer, Sinclair Lewis: An American Life, 1961.
  • D. J. Dooley, The Art of Sinclair Lewis, 1967.
  • Martin Light, The Quixotic Vision of Sinclair Lewis, 1975.
  • Modern Fiction Studies, vol. 31.3, Autumn 1985, special issues on Sinclair Lewis.
  • Sinclair Lewis at 100: Papers Presented at a Centennial Conference, 1985.
  • Martin Bucco, Main Street: The Revolt of Carol Kennicott, 1993.
  • James M. Hutchisson, The Rise of Sinclair Lewis, 1920-1930, 1996.
  • Glen A. Love, Babbitt: An American Life.
  • Stephen R. Pastore, Sinclair Lewis: A Descriptive Bibliography, 1997.
SOURCE: http://lilt.ilstu.edu/separry/lewis

External Links e-texts of some of Sinclair Lewis' works:

  • Babbit (http://www.abacci.com/books/book.asp?bookID=214)
  • Main Street (http://www.abacci.com/books/book.asp?bookID=1237)



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