Sinclair Lewis
Novelist, short story writer, playwright
Sinclair Lewis
Harry Sinclair Lewis was an American novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. In 1930, he became the first writer from the United States to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, "for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humor, new types of characters.
Biography
Sinclair Lewis's personal information overview.
{{personal_detail.supertitle}}
{{personal_detail.title}}
{{personal_detail.title}}
Photo Albums
Popular photos of Sinclair Lewis
Relationships
View family, career and love interests for Sinclair Lewis
Show More Show Less
News
News abour Sinclair Lewis from around the web
A Portal to 1920s Greenwich Village - New York Times
Google News - over 5 years
More Photos » "Two fisted" Peter Lord Templeton Hunt (bottom signature) turns his back on Sinclair Lewis. More Photos » A 1972 article in the Ransom Center's journal identified 50 people behind the signatures before the door fell back into obscurity,
Article Link:
Google News article
A Word to the Wise: Eugene Peterson's new release inspires ministry - Folsom Telegraph
Google News - over 5 years
I like Sinclair Lewis, John Updike and, more recently, Eugene Peterson. Besides translating the Bible into “The Message,” Peterson has written many books on spiritual and pastoral theology. I therefore did not hesitate to purchase his recent
Article Link:
Google News article
How I Became a New York Celebrity 75 Years Ago - Huffington Post (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
But when asked in an NBC radio interview what she thought of another Minnesota writer, Sinclair Lewis, and his harsh portrayal of life in small towns like her own, she dismissed him with these words: "I liked 'Main Street' very much, but that was the
Article Link:
Google News article
Going back in time - Sauk Centre Herald
Google News - over 5 years
He hired help and has since made the corner of Sinclair Lewis and Main Street look more like a scene from Happy Days. And boy have people responded. Olson reported serving more than 2000 people in the restaurant's first four days of operation
Article Link:
Google News article
Jessica Simpson: Eric Johnson Blazing New Trails for Yalies Everywhere - Bleacher Report
Google News - over 5 years
I don't know about you, but when I think of notable Yale alumni, I think of people like Sinclair Lewis, Paul Newman, and to a lesser extent, George W. Bush. And then there's Eric Johnson. You might know him as a mediocre tight end who used to play in
Article Link:
Google News article
Litchfield Redux - Litchfield County Times
Google News - over 5 years
By the 20th century, the green had been so transformed and become such a symbol of “colonial” beauty that Sinclair Lewis is said to have remarked that, “The only street in America more beautiful than North Street in Litchfield is South Street in
Article Link:
Google News article
On the Road: Minn. Man Takes Down Barn Brick by Brick - KSTP.com
Google News - over 5 years
There is no better example of an old Minnesota brick building than the Palmer House Hotel in Sauk Centre, home of Sinclair Lewis and scene of his classic novel "Main Street." It's built from the same materials as many other structures around town, red,
Article Link:
Google News article
KEN HILL: Founding Fathers didn't intend for God to have 'central role in our ... - Bakersfield Californian
Google News - over 5 years
Sinclair Lewis Regarding the June 8 Another View article "Criticism resorts to misleading labels": Don Clark descended quickly into a vituperative tirade against an earlier article, a tactic employed by Clark in the past. Rather than addressing actual
Article Link:
Google News article
Pure poetry in motion - The Australian
Google News - over 5 years
Richard Brooks, who directed this compelling version of Sinclair Lewis's novel, summed up Gantry as "a man who wants what everyone is supposed to want: money, sex and religion. He's the all-American boy." Jean Simmons, as the evangelist Sister Sharon
Article Link:
Google News article
Elmer Gantry and the Cult of Personality - Patheos
Google News - over 5 years
As popular "celebrity priests" endure spectacular flameouts, Sinclair Lewis' story gives Catholics much to ponder about our own worldly sensibilities, God and man. By Joseph Susanka, July 14, 2011 "Like" the Patheos Catholic Page on Facebook to receive
Article Link:
Google News article
Despite damage, Sinclair Lewis Days to go on as planned - Sauk Centre Herald
Google News - over 5 years
City crews were busy clearing debris and brush from roadways and hadn't yet tackled Sinclair Lewis Park until Tuesday afternoon. Many of the park's trees were literally destroyed by the powerful gusts of wind, reported to be upwards of 90 miles per
Article Link:
Google News article
Sauk Centre cleaning up - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Google News - over 5 years
While traffic on most streets was running a gantlet of sawed-off tree trunks Monday, power was about 80 percent restored, and officials and residents continued to make plans for this weekend's Sinclair Lewis Days, the annual summer festival that
Article Link:
Google News article
Sinclair Lewis Days kicks off Sunday - Sauk Centre Herald
Google News - over 5 years
Sinclair Lewis Days kicks off this Sunday with hope that the weather won't cause a distraction like it did last year. Severe weather caused for organizers to call off the parade. It was the first year in its existence that the parade
Article Link:
Google News article
For one sunny day, thoughts of America's flaws take a holiday - SignOnSanDiego.com
Google News - over 5 years
“Intellectually,” Sinclair Lewis observed, “I know that America is no better than any other country; emotionally, I know she is better than every other country.” Lewis, right up there with Mark Twain as an American critic,
Article Link:
Google News article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Sinclair Lewis
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1951
    Age 66
    Lewis died in Rome from advanced alcoholism on January 10, 1951, aged 65.
    More Details Hide Details His body was cremated and his remains were buried in Sauk Centre. His final novel World So Wide (1951) was published posthumously. William Shirer, a friend and admirer of Lewis, disputes accounts that Lewis died of alcoholism per se. He reported that Lewis had a heart attack and that his doctors advised him to stop drinking if he wanted to live. Lewis did not stop, and perhaps could not; he died when his heart stopped. In summing up Lewis' career, Shirer concludes: Samuel J. Rogal edited The Short Stories of Sinclair Lewis (1904–1949), a seven-volume set published in 2007 by Edwin Mellen Press. The first attempt to collect all of Lewis's short stories.
  • 1948
    Age 63
    By 1948, Lewis had created a gentleman’s farm consisting of 720 acres of agricultural and forest land.
    More Details Hide Details His intended residence in Williamstown was short-lived because of his medical problems.
  • 1946
    Age 61
    Sinclair Lewis had been a frequent visitor to Williamstown, Massachusetts. In 1946, he rented Thorvale Farm on Oblong Road.
    More Details Hide Details While working on his novel Kingsblood Royal, he purchased this summer estate and upgraded the Georgian mansion along with a farmhouse and many outbuildings.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1943
    Age 58
    In 1943, Lewis went to Hollywood to work on a script with Dore Schary, who had just resigned as executive head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's low-budget film department to concentrate on writing and producing his own films.
    More Details Hide Details The resulting screenplay was Storm In the West, "a traditional American western" — except for the fact that it was also an allegory of World War II, with primary villain Hygatt (Hitler) and his henchmen Gribbles (Goebbels) and Gerrett (Goering) plotting to take over the Franson Ranch, the Poling Ranch, and so on. The screenplay was deemed too political by MGM studio executives and was shelved, and the film was never made. Storm In the West was finally published in 1963, with a foreword by Schary detailing the work's origins, the authors' creative process, and the screenplay's ultimate fate.
  • 1940
    Age 55
    In the autumn of 1940, Lewis visited his old acquaintance, William Ellery Leonard, in Madison, Wisconsin.
    More Details Hide Details Leonard arranged a meeting with the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a tour of the campus. Lewis immediately became enthralled with the university and the city and offered to remain and teach a course in creative writing in the upcoming semester. For a month he was quite enamored with his professorial role. Suddenly, on 7 November, after giving only five classes to his select group of 24 students, he announced that he had taught them all that he knew. He left Madison the next day. In the 1940s, Lewis and rabbi-turned-popular author Lewis Browne frequently appeared on the lecture platform together, touring the United States and debating before audiences of as many as 3,000 people, addressing such questions as "Has the Modern Woman Made Good?", "The Country Versus the City", "Is the Machine Age Wrecking Civilization?", and "Can Fascism Happen Here?". The pair were described as "the Gallagher and Shean of the lecture circuit" by Lewis biographer Richard Lingeman.
  • 1937
    Age 52
    After an alcoholic binge in 1937, Lewis checked in for treatment to the Austen Riggs Center, a psychiatric hospital in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
    More Details Hide Details His doctors gave him a blunt assessment that he needed to decide "whether he was going to live without alcohol or die by it, one or the other." Lewis checked out after ten days, lacking any "fundamental understanding of his problem," as one of his physicians wrote to a colleague.
  • FORTIES
  • 1930
    Age 45
    In 1930, Lewis won the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first writer from the United States to receive the award, after he had been nominated by Henrik Schück, member of the Swedish Academy.
    More Details Hide Details In the Academy's presentation speech, special attention was paid to Babbitt. In his Nobel Lecture, Lewis praised Theodore Dreiser, Willa Cather, Ernest Hemingway, and other contemporaries, but also lamented that "in America most of us—not readers alone, but even writers—are still afraid of any literature which is not a glorification of everything American, a glorification of our faults as well as our virtues," and that America is "the most contradictory, the most depressing, the most stirring, of any land in the world today." He also offered a profound criticism of the American literary establishment: "Our American professors like their literature clear and cold and pure and very dead." After winning the Nobel Prize, Lewis wrote eleven more novels, ten of which appeared in his lifetime. The best remembered is It Can't Happen Here (1935), a novel about the election of a fascist to the American presidency.
    They had a son, Michael Lewis, in 1930. Their marriage had virtually ended by 1937, and they divorced in 1942.
    More Details Hide Details Michael Lewis became an actor, also suffered with alcoholism, and died in 1975 of Hodgkin's lymphoma. Michael had two sons, John Paul and Gregory Claude, with wife Bernadette Nanse and a daughter Lesley with wife Valerie Cardew. Upon moving to Washington, D.C., Lewis devoted himself to writing. As early as 1916, he began taking notes for a realistic novel about small-town life. Work on that novel continued through mid-1920, when he completed Main Street, which was published on October 23, 1920. As his biographer Mark Schorer wrote, the phenomenal success of Main Street "was the most sensational event in twentieth-century American publishing history." Lewis's agent had the most optimistic projection of sales at 25,000 copies. In its first six months, Main Street sold 180,000 copies, and within a few years, sales were estimated at two million. According to biographer Richard Lingeman, "Main Street made Lewis rich—earning him perhaps three million current 2005 dollars".
  • 1928
    Age 43
    Later in 1928, he and Dorothy purchased a second home in rural Vermont.
    More Details Hide Details
    On May 14, 1928, he married Dorothy Thompson, a political newspaper columnist.
    More Details Hide Details
  • THIRTIES
  • 1925
    Age 40
    Lewis divorced Grace in 1925.
    More Details Hide Details
  • TWENTIES
  • 1914
    Age 29
    In 1914 Lewis married Grace Livingston Hegger (1887–1981), an editor at Vogue magazine.
    More Details Hide Details They had one son, Wells Lewis (1917–1944), named after British author H. G. Wells. Wells Lewis was killed in action while serving in the U.S. Army in World War II during the rescue of "The Lost Battalion" in the Forêt de Champ in France. Dean Acheson, the future Secretary of State, was a neighbor and family friend in Washington, and observed that Sinclair's literary "success was not good for that marriage, or for either of the parties to it, or for Lewis's work" and the family moved out of town.
    Sinclair Lewis's first serious novel, Our Mr. Wrenn: The Romantic Adventures of a Gentle Man, appeared in 1914, followed by The Trail of the Hawk: A Comedy of the Seriousness of Life (1915) and The Job (1917).
    More Details Hide Details That same year also saw the publication of another potboiler, The Innocents: A Story for Lovers, an expanded version of a serial story that had originally appeared in Woman's Home Companion. Free Air, another refurbished serial story, was published in 1919.
  • 1912
    Age 27
    Lewis's first published book was Hike and the Aeroplane, a Tom Swift-style potboiler that appeared in 1912 under the pseudonym Tom Graham.
    More Details Hide Details
  • TEENAGE
  • 1903
    Age 18
    He entered Yale in 1903 but did not receive his bachelor's degree until 1908, having taken time off to work at Helicon Home Colony, Upton Sinclair's cooperative-living colony in Englewood, New Jersey, and to travel to Panama.
    More Details Hide Details Lewis's unprepossessing looks, "fresh" country manners and seemingly self-important loquacity made it difficult for him to win and keep friends at Oberlin and Yale. He did initiate a few relatively long-lived friendships among students and professors, some of whom recognized his promise as a writer. Lewis's earliest published creative work—romantic poetry and short sketches—appeared in the Yale Courant and the Yale Literary Magazine, of which he became an editor. After graduation Lewis moved from job to job and from place to place in an effort to make ends meet, write fiction for publication and to chase away boredom. While working for newspapers and publishing houses (and for a time at the Carmel-by-the-Sea, California writers' colony), he developed a facility for turning out shallow, popular stories that were purchased by a variety of magazines. He also earned money by selling plots to Jack London, including one for the latter's unfinished novel The Assassination Bureau, Ltd.
  • 1902
    Age 17
    In late 1902 Lewis left home for a year at Oberlin Academy (the then-preparatory department of Oberlin College) to qualify for acceptance by Yale University.
    More Details Hide Details While at Oberlin, he developed a religious enthusiasm that waxed and waned for much of his remaining teenage years.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1891
    Age 6
    Lewis's mother, Emma Kermott Lewis, died in 1891.
    More Details Hide Details The following year, Edwin Lewis married Isabel Warner, whose company young Lewis apparently enjoyed. Throughout his lonely boyhood, the ungainly Lewis—tall, extremely thin, stricken with acne and somewhat pop-eyed—had trouble gaining friends and pined after various local girls. At the age of 13 he unsuccessfully ran away from home, wanting to become a drummer boy in the Spanish–American War.
  • 1885
    Age 0
    Born February 7, 1885, in the village of Sauk Centre, Minnesota, Sinclair Lewis began reading books at a young age and kept a diary.
    More Details Hide Details He had two siblings, Fred (born 1875) and Claude (born 1878). His father, Edwin J. Lewis, was a physician and a stern disciplinarian who had difficulty relating to his sensitive, unathletic third son.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
All data offered is derived from public sources. Spokeo does not verify or evaluate each piece of data, and makes no warranties or guarantees about any of the information offered. Spokeo does not possess or have access to secure or private financial information. Spokeo is not a consumer reporting agency and does not offer consumer reports. None of the information offered by Spokeo is to be considered for purposes of determining any entity or person's eligibility for credit, insurance, employment, housing, or for any other purposes covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)