Sinclair Lewis, fully Harry Sinclair Lewis

Sinclair
Lewis, fully Harry Sinclair Lewis
1885
1951

American Novelist, Social Critic and Playwright, Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature

Author Quotes

What is love? It is the morning and the evening star.

Indians, of course, have no 'theology,' and indeed no word for the system of credulity in which the white priests arrange for God, who must be entirely bewildered by it, a series of excuses for his failures.

It's one of our favorite American myths that broad plains necessarily make broad minds, and high mountains make high purpose.

No matter even if you are cold, I like you better than anybody in the world. One time I said that you were my soul. And that still goes. You're all the things that I see in a sunset when I'm driving in from the country, the things that I like but can't make poetry of.

She bought a budget-plan account book and made her budgets as exact as budgets are likely to be when they lack budgets.

That drawing room had the soul of a banker with side-whiskers.

The outhouse was so overmodestly masked with vines and lattice that it was not concealed at all. The greatest mystery about a human being is not his reaction to sex or praise, but the manner in which he contrives to put in twenty-four hours a day. It is this which puzzles the longshoreman about the clerk, the Londoner about the bushman.

Think how much better it is to criticize conventional customs if you yourself live up to them, scrupulously. Then people can't say you're attacking them to excuse your own infractions. Yes, I've heard that plea... To word it differently, 'You must live up to the popular code if you believe in it; but if you don't believe in it, then you must live up to it!'

I have faith in Faith, I have reverence for all true Reverence.

Intellectually I know that America is no better than any other country; emotionally I know she is better than every country.

I've sat at the preachers' feet and listened to them, faithfully, and tried to make myself become what they said I ought to be. I'm through! I do my own thinking now and my own bossing.

No one could possibly have looked more like a person closing a door without actually closing one.

She continued it to Hugh, 'Darling, do you know what mother and you are going to find beyond the blue horizon rim?' 'What?' flatly. 'We're going to find elephants with golden howdahs from which peep young maharanees with necklaces of rubies, and a dawn sea colored like the breast of a dove, and a white an green house filled with books and silver tea-sets.' 'And cookies?' 'Cookies? Oh, most decidedly cookies. We've had enough of bread and porridge. We'd get sick on too many cookies, but ever so much sicker on no cookies at all.

That nation is proudest and noblest and most exalted which has the greatest number of really great men.

The poor we have always with us, and the purpose of the Lord in providing the poor is to enable us of the better classes to amuse ourselves by investigating them and uplifting them and at dinners telling how charitable we are. The poor don't like it much. They have no gratitude. They would rather be uplifters themselves. But if they are taken firmly in hand they can be kept reasonably dependent and interesting for years.

This age, which should adjudge happiness to be as valuable as soap or munitions, would never come so long as the workers accepted the testimony of paid spokesmen... to the effect that they were contented and happy, rather than the evidence of their own wincing nerves to the effect that they live in a polite version of hell.

I live in this house and am Episcopalian – no so much High Church as highly infrequent church.

Is it possible that nobody has ever known that there never has been a completely civilized man, and won't be for another thousand years?

Just as he was an Elk, a Booster, and a member of the Chamber of Commerce, just as the priests of the Presbyterian Church determined his every religious belief and the senators who controlled the Republican Party decided in little smoky rooms in Washington what he should think about disarmament, tariff, and Germany, so did the large national advertisers fix the surface of his life, fix what he believed to be his individuality. These standard advertised wares--toothpastes, socks, tires, cameras, instantaneous hot-water heaters--were his symbols and proofs of excellence; at first sight the signs, then the substitutes, for joy and passion and wisdom.

NOW is a fact that cannot be dodged.

She could not escape asking (in the exact words and mental intonations which a thousand million women, dairy wenches and mischief-making queens, had used before her, and which a million million women will know hereafter), Was it all a horrible mistake, my marrying him? She quieted the doubt--without answering it.

That’s a swell line of baggage, all right – one toothbrush, a change of socks, and ninety-seven thousand books.

The reason for it all, nobody who is actually engaged in it can tell you, except the bosses, who believe that these sacred rites of composing dull letters and solemnly filing them away are observed in order that they may buy the large automobiles in which they do not have time to take the air.

Though Frank Shallard might have come to admire pictures, great music, civilized furniture, he had been trained to regard them as worldly, and to content himself with art which 'presented a message,' to regard 'Les Miserables' as superior because the bishop was a kind man, and 'The Scarlet Letter' as a poor book because the heroine was sinful and the author didn't mind.

I love America, but I don't like it.

Author Picture
First Name
Sinclair
Last Name
Lewis, fully Harry Sinclair Lewis
Birth Date
1885
Death Date
1951
Bio

American Novelist, Social Critic and Playwright, Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature