Sinclair Lewis: New Essays in Criticism

Sinclair Lewis: New Essays in Criticism

Sinclair Lewis: New Essays in Criticism

Sinclair Lewis: New Essays in Criticism

Synopsis

"Part of a Sinclair Lewis revival, the fourteen new essays collected here present revisionary readings of Lewis's novels, both the famous and the forgotten. Major contemporary critical approaches are represented: psychoanalytic, feminist, poststructuralist, cultural, and new historicist. An annotated bibliography of scholarship on Lewis since 1977 includes over 150 items."¿American Literature

Excerpt

This volume is the first collection of original essays on Sinclair Lewis that has ever been published. As its title suggests, it presents fresh approaches to the study of Lewis's fiction, which has attracted renewed study recently, as the canon of American literature is reopened and reexamined. For some time, Mark Schorer's 1961 biography of Lewis discouraged scholarly attention to the author. Over time, Schorer's book has earned a dubious honor as the greatest sustained work of negative criticism. It depicted Lewis variously as no aesthete, no intellectual, and not a very nice person, to boot; the book cast a long shadow over Lewis studies, until at least 1985, when the centennial of the author's birth prompted a major reevaluation of his life and art, one that continues and shows no signs of waning as of this writing.

The recent surge of interest in Lewis is wide-ranging. The Library of America has recently issued a Lewis volume; Penguin Books has brought out new editions of Main Street (1920) and Babbitt (1922), with fresh introductions and updated bibliographies; and The University of Nebraska Press has reprinted three "forgotten" Lewis titles (all of which are treated in this collection)--The job (1917); Free Air (1919), and Ann Vickers (1933). All of Lewis' classic novels from the 1920s--Main Street, Babbitt, Arrowsmith (1925), Elmer Gantry (1927), and Dodsworth (1929)--are in print, as are his Collected Short Stories (1935). New critical studies have been published and a major new biography is in preparation, as are editions of Lewis's unpublished writings. Like E. M. Forster and Jane Austen of late, Lewis has even made it to Hollywood, as news circulates about a new film version of Dodsworth and a screen biography of Lewis being in the works.

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