Sinclair Lewis photo

Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951)

"Everything that is worth while in the world has been accomplished by the free, inquiring, critical spirit" - Sinclair Lewis

A selective list of online literary criticism for the twentieth-century American novelist and short story writer Sinclair Lewis, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars and articles published in peer-reviewed sources

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introduction & biography

"Autobiography." From the Nobel Prize web page for Sinclair Lewis, the first American to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1930.

Smiley, Jane. "All-American Iconoclast." A brief article by novelist Jane Smiley on Lewis and the new Lewis biography by Richard Lingeman, in the NY Times 20 Jan. 2002.

Vidal, Gore. "The Romance of Sinclair Lewis." Novelist Gore Vidal on Sinclair Lewis. New York Review of Books 8 Oct. 1992.

Fleming, Robert E. "Sinclair Lewis." An introduction to Sinclair Lewis. Main Street (1920); Babbitt (1922); Arrowsmith (1925); Elmer Gantry (1927); Dodsworth (1929); It Can't Happen Here (1935); Kingsblood Royal (1947). Literary Encyclopedia [subscription service].

literary criticism

Allen, Brooke. "Sinclair Lewis: The bard of discontents." Says Allen, "Sinclair Lewis, like his literary idols Shaw, Wells, and Ibsen, was one of the world's great intellectual liberators. He looked at the institutions that tyrannically ruled American life-the Family, the Protestant Church, Business Interests, Good Fellowship-and made his readers understand that their ascendance was arbitrary and to a large degree baneful." Hudson Review Spring 2003 [free at jstor].

Buceo, Martin. "Bernard Shaw in Sinclair Lewis." Shaw 121 (2001), pp. 133-141 [free at jstor].

Carpenter, Frederic I. "Sinclair Lewis and the Fortress of Reality." An article from 1955 considers the sharp decline in the reputation of Sinclair Lewis and changes in literary fashion. College English 16, 7 (April, 1955), pp. 416-423 [free at jstor].

Fisher, Joel. "Sinclair Lewis and the Diagnostic Novel: Main Street and Babbitt." Although Sinclair Lewis is currently held in low esteem as an author, Fisher contends that Lewis still deserves to be read and studied seriously. Journal of American Studies 20, 3, American Politics and Political Culture (Dec., 1986), pp. 421-433 [free at jstor].

Lingeman, Richard. "Sinclair Lewis Arrives." In 1919, Sherwood Anderson's poetic stories of small-town folk in Winesburg, Ohio sold only a few thousand copies; a year later, Sinclair Lewis's Main Street was a massive bestseller. On the huge sales of Main Street, the reasons for its success, and Lewis's feelings about its popularity. New England Review 23, 1 (Winter 2002) pp 22-42 [free at jstor].

Tanner, Stephen L. "Sinclair Lewis and Fascism." Studies in the Novel 22, 1 (Spring 1990), pp. 57-66 [free at jstor].

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