Sinclair Lewis, fully Harry Sinclair Lewis

Lewis, fully Harry Sinclair Lewis

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

Author Quotes

It came to him merely to run away was folly, because he could never run away from himself.

Like all ardent agnostics, Martin was a religious man.

Now we got a lawyer, we got civilization, which I understand to mean that a man has a chance to get rich without working.

She did her work with the thoroughness of a mind which reveres details and never quite understands them.

The author says one character's definition of a classic is any book he'd heard of before he was thirty.

The Reverend Elmer Gantry was reading an illustrated pink periodical devoted to prize fighters and chorus girls in his room at Elizabeth J. Schmutz Hall late of an afternoon when two large men walked in without knocking. Why, good evening, Brother Bains—Brother Naylor! This is a pleasant surprise. I was, uh— Did you ever see this horrible rag? About actoresses. An invention of the devil himself. I was thinking of denouncing it next Sunday. I hope you never read it—won't you sit down, gentlemen?—take this chair— I hope you never read it, Brother Floyd, because the footsteps of—

Thus Carol hit upon the tragedy of old age, which is not that it is less vigorous than youth, but that it is not needed by youth.

I must say I'm not very fond of oratory that's so full of energy it hasn't any room for facts.

It Can't Happen Here.

Lord, why can't the women let you alone? Just because once or twice, seven hundred million years ago, you were a poor fool, why can't they let you forget it?

Now, you look here! The first thing you got to understand is that all this uplift and flipflop and settlement-work and recreation is nothing in God's world but the entering wedge for socialism. The sooner a man learns he isn't going to be coddled, and he needn't expect a lot of free grub and, uh, all these free classes and flipflop and doodads for his kids unless he earns 'em, why, the sooner he'll get on the job and produce - produce - produce! That's what the country needs, and not all this fancy stuff that just enfeebles the will-power of the working man and gives his kids a lot of notions above their class.

She forgot for a moment that she was Mrs. Hartwig, now, and had the best phonograph in Saserkopee.

The cocktail filled him with a whirling exhilaration behind which he was aware of devastating desires—to rush places in fast motors, to kiss girls, to sing, to be witty. ... He perceived that he had gifts of profligacy which had been neglected.

The towers of Zenith aspired above the morning mist; austere towers of steel and cement and limestone, sturdy as cliffs and delicate as silver rods.

To a true-blue professor of literature in an American university, literature is not something that a plain human being, living today, painfully sits down to produce. No; it is something dead.

I think perhaps we want a more conscientious [conscious] life. We're tired of drudging and sleeping and dying. We're tired of always deferring hope to the next generation. We're tired of hearing the politicians and priests and cautious reformers (and the husbands!) coax us, 'Be calm! Be patient! Wait! We have plans for a Utopia already made; just give us a bit more time and we'll produce it; trust us; we're wiser than you.' For ten thousand years they've said that. We want our Utopia now - and we're going to try our hands at it. All we want is - everything for all of us! For every housewife and every longshoreman and every Hindu nationalist and every teacher. We want everything. We sha'n't get it. So we sha'n't ever be content -

It did seem sounder to build houses which he could build than to teach children a gospel which he did not altogether understand in a Sioux language which he could not quite speak. He reflected, 'If I could put over some kind of equality for Mark Shadrock and Black Wolf, that would be enough heavenly progress for me.'

Maybe he was not a good-enough Christian to get the proper zest out of mortifying his indolent flesh.

Oh, youse guys just wait. There’ll be a million and a half reporters here, right away. Associated Press and United Press and all the Washington Paper and all the guys wot writes up what they t’ink Congress oughta be doin’, for the Kalamazoo Avalanch and the South Sauk Centre Hoop-la

She found beauty in the children.

The content of his theology was that there was a supreme being who had tried to make us perfect, but presumably had failed; that if one was a Good Man he would go to a place called Heaven... Upon this theology he rarely pondered. The kernel of his practical religion was that it was respectable, and beneficial to one's business, to be seen going to services; that the church kept the Worst Elements from being still worse; and that the pastor's sermons, however dull they might seem at the time of taking, yet had a voodooistic power which 'did a fellow good — kept him in touch with higher things.'

The trouble with this country is that there are too many people going about saying, "The trouble with this country is...”

To one who had never made more than five thousand a year himself, it was inspiring to explain before dozens of popeyed and admiring morons how they could make ten thousand — fifty thousand — a million a year, and all this by the Wonder Power of Suggestion, by Aggressive Personality, by the Divine Rhythm, in fact by merely releasing the Inner Self-shine.

I was brought up to believe that the Christian God wasn't a scared and compromising public servant, but the creator of the whole merciless truth, and I reckon that training spoiled me — I actually took my teachers seriously!

It has been calculated that ninety-three million women in all parts of the world have ruined their complexions, and therefore, their souls, by Pemberton's creams and lotions for saving the same; and that nearly three-tenths of the alcohol consumed in prohibition counties is obtained in Pemberton's tonics and blood-builders and women's specifics, the last being regarded by large farmers with beards as especially tasty and stimulating.

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Lewis, fully Harry Sinclair Lewis
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American Novelist, Social Critic and Playwright, Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature