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

Maybe if they didn't know it beforehand, they wouldn't find out I'd ever been guilty of trying to think for myself.

On the whole, with scandalous exceptions, Democracy has given the ordinary worker more dignity than he ever had.

She had called Martin a 'lie-hunter,' a 'truth-seeker.' They decided now that most people who call themselves 'truth-seekers' — persons who scurry about chattering of Truth as though it were a tangible separable thing, like houses or salt or bread — did not so much desire to find Truth as to cure their mental itch. In novels, these truth-seekers quested the 'secret of life' in laboratories which did not seem to be provided with Bunsen flames or reagents; or they went, at great expense and much discomfort from hot trains and undesirable snakes, to Himalayan monasteries, to learn from unaseptic sages that the Mind can do all sort of edifying things if one will but spend thirty or forty years in eating rice and gazing on one's navel. To these high matters Martin responded, 'Rot!' He insisted that there is no Truth but only many truths; that Truth is not a colored bird to be chased among the rocks and captured by its tail, but a skeptical attitude toward life. He insisted that no one could expect more than, by stubbornness or luck, to have the kind of work he enjoyed and an ability to become better acquainted with the facts of that work than the average job-holder.

The dinner was the best style of women's-magazine art, whereby the salad was served in hollowed apples, and everything but the invincible fried chicken resembled something else.

There are dozens of young poets and fictioneers most of them a little insane in the tradition of James Joyce, who, however insane they may be, have refused to be genteel and traditional and dull.

Under a tyranny, most friends are a liability. One quarter of them turn "reasonable" and become your enemies, one quarter are afraid to speak, and one quarter are killed and you die with them. But the blessed are the final quarter keep you alive.

I was feeling rational and restless, which is horrible for watching movies.

It has not yet been recorded that any human being has gained a very large or permanent contentment from meditation upon the fact that he is better off than others.

Men of measured merriment! Damn the great executives, the men of measured merriment, damn the men with careful smiles, damn the men that run the shops, oh, damn their measured merriment, the men with measured merriment, oh, damn their measured merriment, and DAMN their careful smiles!

Once she kidnapped me and drug me to the Methodist Church. I goes in, pious as Widow Bogart, and sits still and never cracks a smile while the preacher is favoring us with his misinformation on evolution. But afterwards, when the old stalwarts were pumphandling everybody at the door and calling 'em 'Brother' and 'Sister,' they let me sail right by with nary a clinch.

She laughed at herself when she saw that she had expected to be at once a heretic and a returned hero; she was very reasonable and merry about it; and it hurt just as much as ever.

The doctor asserted, 'Sure religion is a fine influence — got to have it to keep the lower classes in order — fact, it's the only thing that appeals to a lot of these fellows and makes 'em respect the rights of property. And I guess this theology is O.K.; lot of wise old coots figured it out, and they knew more about it than we do.' He believed in the Christian religion, and never thought about it; he believed in the church, and seldom went near it; he was shocked by Carol's lack of faith, and wasn't quite sure what was the nature of the faith that she lacked. Carol herself was an uneasy and dodging agnostic. When she ventured to Sunday School and heard the teachers droning that the genealogy of Shamsherai was a valuable ethical problem for children to think about; when she experimented with the Wednesday prayer-meeting and listened to store-keeping elders giving unvarying weekly testimony in primitive erotic symbols and such gory Chaldean phrases as 'washed in the blood of the lamb' and 'a vengeful God...' then Carol was dismayed to find the Christian religion, in America, in the twentieth century, as abnormal as Zoroastrianism — without the splendor. But when she went to church suppers a felt the friendliness, saw the gaiety with which the sisters served cold ham and scalloped potatoes; when Mrs. Champ Perry cried to her, on an afternoon call, 'My dear, if you just knew how happy it makes you to come into abiding grace,' then Carol found the humanness behind the sanguinary and alien theology.

There are two races of people, only two, and they live side by side. His calls mine 'neurotic'; mine calls his 'stupid'.

War is a horrible thing, to be prevented as far as possible.

I went to a denominational college and learned that since dictating the Bible, and hiring a perfect race of ministers to explain it, God has never done much but creep around and try to catch us disobeying it.

It is impossible to discourage the real writers - they don''t give a damn what you say, they''re going to write.

Men who had made five thousand, year before last, and ten thousand last year, were urging on nerve-yelping bodies and parched brains so that they might make twenty thousand this year; and the men who had broken down immediately after making their twenty thousand dollars were hustling to catch trains, to hustle through the vacations which the hustling doctors had ordered.

Our American professors like their literature clear and cold and pure and very dead. [on receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature]

She took walks, and was sensible about shoes and diet. And never did she feel that she was living.

The driver of the wagon swaying through forest and swamp of the Ohio wilderness was a ragged girl of fourteen.

There had to be one man in town independent enough to sass the banker!

We have the power to bore people long after we are dead.

I wonder if you can understand the 'fun' of making a beautiful thing, the pride and satisfaction of it, and the holiness! The company glanced doubtfully at one another. In Gopher Prairie it is not good form to be holy except at church, between ten-thirty and twelve on Sunday.

It is not a snobbish rich-man's college, devoted to leisurely nonsense. It is the property of the people of the state, and what they want — or what they are told they want — is a mill to turn out men and women who will lead moral lives, play bridge, drive good cars, be enterprising in business, and occasionally mention books, though they are not expected to have time to read them. It is a Ford Motor Factory, and if its products rattle a little, they are beautifully standardized, with perfectly interchangeable parts.

Most troubles are unnecessary. We have Nature beaten; we can make her grow wheat; we can keep warm when she sends blizzards. So we raise the devil just for pleasure--wars, politics, race-hatreds, labor-disputes.

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