The Art of Sinclair Lewis

The Art of Sinclair Lewis

The Art of Sinclair Lewis

The Art of Sinclair Lewis

Excerpt

In 1936, when the bibliophiles' magazine Colophon asked its readers to name the living American authors they considered to have the best chance of being thought "classics" in the year 2000, Sinclair Lewis easily led the list. In a similar poll conducted in 1948, Lewis was ranked second to Eugene O'Neill. Yet Lewis's reputation has declined to such an extent that Mark Schorer, toward the end of his monumental biography, seems to doubt whether it was all worth while; and his rather sour final judgment is "He was one of the worst writers in modern American literature . . . ." This conclusion is not prepared for, since Schorer treats Lewis's books chiefly as events in his life; we could hardly wish for a more comprehensive view of Lewis's deficiencies, but we are left wondering how many other recent American writers did what E. M. Forster attributed to him: lodged a piece of a continent in our imagination. Schorer takes Lewis as "a prime example of that characteristic phenomenon of American literature--the man who enjoys a tremendous . . .

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