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

Aaron had learned … from Mr. Fairlow's two-hour sermons on "The Jealousy of an Angry Jehovah Who Hath Weighed Sinners in the Balance and Found Them Wanting",...that God was a torturer who punished small boys for sins they might commit later.

Carol was discovering that the one thing that can be more disconcerting than intelligent hatred is demanding love. "She supposed that she was being gracefully dull and standardized in the Smails' presence, but they scented the heretic, and with forward-stooping delight they sat and tried to drag out her ludicrous concepts for their amusement. They were like the Sunday-afternoon mob starting at monkeys in the Zoo, poking fingers and making faces and giggling at the resentment of the more dignified race... They were staggered to learn that a real tangible person, living in Minnesota, and married to their own flesh-and-blood relation, could apparently believe that divorce may not always be immoral; that illegitimate children do not bear any special and guaranteed form of curse; that there are ethical authorities outside of the Hebrew Bible; that men have drunk wine yet not died in the gutter; that the capitalistic system of distribution and the Baptist wedding-ceremony were not known in the Garden of Eden... that there are Ministers of the Gospel who accept evolution; that some persons of intelligence and business ability do not always vote the Republican ticket straight;... that a violin is not inherently more immoral than a chapel organ... 'Where does she get all them the'ries?' marveled Uncle Whittier Smail.

He fretted that he did not know anything. He sighed, 'I have sought the Kingdom of God a little, the Squire has sought it terribly, but we haven't even a map, and after what I saw this afternoon, I know the Sioux are as barbarous as we are. 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?

He was still not at all certain that he was doing any good, aside from providing the drug of religious hope to timorous folk frightened of hell-fire and afraid to walk alone.

Aaron was uncomfortable and a little afraid. This, he thought, is how God might pray to his God.

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.

He had enormous and poetic admiration, though very little understanding, of all mechanical devices. They were his symbols of truth and beauty. Regarding each new intricate mechanism — metal lathe, two-jet carburetor, machine gun, oxyacetylene welder — he learned one good realistic-sounding phrase, and used it over and over, with a delightful feeling of being technical and initiated.

He was worried lest during his late discontent he had imperiled his salvation. He was not quite sure there was a Heaven to be attained, but Dr. John Jennison said there was, and Babbitt was not going to take a chance.

All of the good-intentioners who wanted to 'do something for the common people' were insignificant, because the 'common people' were able to do things for themselves, and highly likely to, as soon as they learned the fact.

Deacon Uriel Gadd was a man of integrity, granite-rough and lichen-coated. The punishment in his rheumatism, clearly sent of God, and the defection of his son Elijah, had weakened him only in making him somewhat less contemptuous of his sentimental son Aaron. All other persons he divided into fools, scoundrels and the blessedly elect, with only himself indisputably in the last class.

He had never been sure but that there might be something to the doctrines he had preached as an evangelist. Perhaps God really had dictated every word of the Bible. Perhaps there really was a hell of burning sulphur. Perhaps the Holy Ghost really was hovering around watching him and reporting. But he knew with serenity that all of his New Thoughts, his theosophical utterances, were pure and uncontaminated bunk. No one could deny his theories because none of his theories meant anything. It did not matter what he said, so long as he kept them listening; and he enjoyed the buoyancy of power as he bespelled his classes with long, involved, fruity sentences rhapsodic as perfume advertisements.

He who has seen one cathedral ten times has seen something; he who has seen ten cathedrals once has seen but little; and he who has spent half an hour in each of a hundred cathedrals has seen nothing at all.

All of them perceived that American Democracy did not imply any equality of wealth, but did demand a wholesome sameness of thought, dress, painting, morals, and vocabulary.

Don’t forget this, son: nothing outside of you can ever hurt you. It can chew up your toes, but it can’t reach you. Nobody but you can hurt you.

He had unhappily noticed at the mission that when he had most hotly prayed, it had been a way of escaping a decision, of frivolously passing the lot to God.

Her laugh had an October tang of bitterness in it.

All this working land was turned into exuberance by the light. The sunshine was dizzy on open stubble; shadows from immense cumulus clouds were forever sliding across low mounds; and the sky was wider and loftier and more resolutely blue than the sky of cities... she declared. It's a glorious country; a land to be big in

Don't be a writer. Writing is an escape from something. You be a scientist.

He had, in fact, got everything from the church and Sunday School, except, perhaps, any longing whatever for decency and kindness and reason.

His entire system of theology was comprised in the Bible, which he never read, and the Methodist Church, which he rarely attended.

An ugly woodshed that's there, right on the ground, is handsomer to me than a ten-story temple that isn't there.

Elmer Gantry was drunk. He was eloquently drunk, lovingly and pugnaciously drunk.

He heard them whispering — whispering... The independence seeped out of him and he walked the streets alone, afraid of men's cynical eyes and the incessant hiss of whispering.

His name was George F. Babbitt, and… he was nimble in the calling of selling houses for more than people could afford to pay.

Any two people who have spent more than two days together already have the material for a life-long feud, in traits which at first were amusing or admirable.

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