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

As they talked around the fire in the sitting-room, he was embarrassed by the nakedness of their piety.

Everything seemed confused and contradictory, and he longed for one clear command from a divine martinet.

He preached to himself, as Max Gottlieb had once preached to him, the loyalty of dissent, the faith of being very doubtful, the gospel of not bawling gospels, the wisdom of admitting the probable ignorance of one's self and of everybody else, and the energetic acceleration of a Movement for going very slow.

Hours then of blasphemy and fury and debate, all in the theological terms that seem shocking to the literate citizens today, who believe in God but just don't care to mention him or any of the other lowly friends they knew before they went to Yale.

at an average cost of less than ten dollars a head.

Except for half a dozen in each town the citizens are proud of that achievement of ignorance which is so easy to come by. To be 'intellectual' or 'artistic' or, in their own word, to be 'highbrow,' is to be priggish and of dubious virtue.

He remembered a friend of his father’s, a brave high-ranking officer and a good commander, who had often said that war was a crime, which the Army ought to prevent, instead of trying to bring it on

I cannot understand why ministers presume to deliver sermons every week at appointed hours because it is humanly impossible for inspirations to come with clock-like regularity.

Author sees the congested idealism of the generally discontent as reservoir that will support centralized power even while disagreeing with many specific provisions.

Fine, large, meaningless, general terms like romance and business can always be related. They take the place of thinking, and are highly useful to optimists and lecturers.

He said brokenly many things beautiful in their common-ness.

I don't believe in fear of divine vengeance, and I do believe in justice and equality.

A dictator with something of the earthy American sense of humor of a Mark Twain, a George Ade, a Will Rogers, an Artemus Ward.

Babbit was an average father. He was affectionate, bullying, opinionated, ignorant, and rather wistful. Like most parents he enjoyed the game of waiting till the victim was clearly wrong, then virtuously pouncing.

For many minutes, for many hours, for a bleak eternity, he lay awake, shivering, reduced to primitive terror, comprehending that he had won freedom, and wondering what he could do with anything so unknown and so embarrassing as freedom.

He still had a fragment of his boyhood belief that congressmen were persons of intelligence and importance.

I hate your city. It has standardized all the beauty out of life. It is one big railroad station — with all the people taking tickets for the best cemeteries.

A proper school should teach nothing but bookkeeping, agriculture, geometry, dead languages made deader by leaving out all the amusing literature, and the Hebrew Bible as interpreted by men superbly trained to ignore contradictions, men technically called "Fundamentalists".

Babbitt looked up irritably from the comic strips in the Evening Advocate. They composed his favorite literature and art, these illustrated chronicles in which Mr. Mutt hit Mr. Jeff with a rotten egg, and Mother corrected Father's vulgarisms by means of a rolling-pin. With the solemn face of a devotee, breathing heavily through his open mouth, he plodded nightly through every picture, and during the rite he detested interruptions. Furthermore, he felt that on the subject of Shakespeare he wasn't really an authority. Neither the Advocate-Times, the Evening Advocate, nor the Bulletin of the Zenith Chamber of Commerce had ever had an editorial on the matter, and until one of them had spoken he found it hard to form an original opinion.

Fortune has dealt with me rather too well. I have known little struggle, not much poverty, many generosities. Now and then I have, for my books or myself, been somewhat warmly denounced — there was one good pastor in California who upon reading my Elmer Gantry desired to lead a mob and lynch me, while another holy man in the state of Maine wondered if there was no respectable and righteous way of putting me in jail. And, much harder to endure than any raging condemnation, a certain number of old acquaintances among journalists, what in the galloping American slang we call the "I Knew Him When Club", have scribbled that since they know me personally, therefore I must be a rather low sort of fellow and certainly no writer. But if I have now and then received such cheering brickbats, still I, who have heaved a good many bricks myself, would be fatuous not to expect a fair number in return.

He was an actor of genius. There was no more overwhelming actor on the stage, in the motion pictures, nor even in the pulpit. He would whirl arms, bang tables, glare from mad eyes, vomit Biblical wrath from a gaping mouth; but he would also coo like a nursing mother, beseech like an aching lover, and in between tricks would coldly and almost contemptuously jab his crowds with figures and facts — figures and facts that were inescapable even when, as often happened, they were entirely incorrect.

A sensational event was changing from the brown suit to the gray the contents of his pockets. He was earnest about these objects. They were of eternal importance, like baseball or the Republican Party.

Being a man given to oratory and high principles, he enjoyed the sound of his own vocabulary and the warmth of his own virtue.

Gentlemen, the most important part of living is not the living but the pondering upon it. And the most important part of experimentation is not doing the experiment but making notes, ve-ry accurate quantitative notes — in ink. I am told that a great many clever people feel they can keep notes in their heads. I have often observed with pleasure that such persons do not have heads in which to keep their notes. This is very good, because thus the world never sees their results and science is not encumbered with them.

He was born to be a senator. He never said anything important, and he always said it sonorously.

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