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About Sinclair Lewis
Sinclair Lewis was born in 1885 in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, and graduated from Yale University in 1908. His college career was interrupted by various part-time occupations, including a period working at the Helicon Home Colony, Upton Sinclair's socialist experiment in New Jersey. He worked for some years as a free lance editor and journalist, during which time he published several minor novels. But with the publication of Main Street (1920), which sold half a million copies, he achieved wide recognition. This was followed by the two novels considered by many to be his finest, Babbitt (1922) and Arrowsmith (1925), which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1926, but declined by Lewis. In 1930, following Elmer Gantry (1927) and Dodsworth (1929), Sinclair Lewis became the first American author to be awarded the Nobel Prize for distinction in world literature. This was the apogee of his literary career, and in the period from Ann Vickers (1933) to the posthumously published World So Wide (1951) Lewis wrote ten novels that reveal the progressive decline of his creative powers. From Main Street to Stockholm, a collection of his letters, was published in 1952, and The Man from Main Street, a collection of essays, in 1953. During his last years Sinclair Lewis wandered extensively in Europe, and after his death in Rome in 1951 his ashes were returned to his birthplace.
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It Can’t Happen Here is the only one of Sinclair Lewis’s later novels to match the power of Main Street, Babbitt, and Arrowsmith. A cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy, it is an alarming, eerily timeless look at how fascism could take hold in America.
Written during the Great Depression, when the country was largely oblivious to Hitler’s aggression, it juxtaposes sharp political satire with the chillingly realistic rise of a president who becomes a dictator to save the nation from welfare cheats, sex, crime, and a liberal press.
Called “a message to thinking Americans” by the Springfield Republican when it was published in 1935, It Can’t Happen Here is a shockingly prescient novel that remains as fresh and contemporary as today’s news.
Includes an Introduction by Michael Meyer
and an Afterword by Gary Scharnhorst
This satirical novel by the Nobel Prize–winning author of It Can’t Happen Here examines medicine in the modern world through the eyes of an idealistic man.
The assistant of a small-town midwestern doctor, young Martin Arrowsmith is fascinated with the contents of Gray’s Anatomy. Eager to pursue an adventurous career in medicine and science, he eventually sets off for medical school, where he hopes to dedicate himself to research. But as Martin progresses through life, he encounters qualities in humans more troublesome than any of the specimens he examines under a microscope.
Happiness almost eludes him until his mentor offers him a post at a prestigious institute—which soon sends Martin to a plague ravaged Caribbean island. There he must show what he is truly made of . . .
A perennial favorite of medical students to this day, Arrowsmith won author Sinclair Lewis the Pulitzer Prize in 1926, which he declined.“Beyond doubt the best of Mr. Lewis’s novels . . . Absorbing and illuminating.” —The Spectator
The Trail of the Hawk
Our Mr. Wrenn
Moths in the Arc Light
The Willow Walk
The Cat of the Stars
The Ghost Patrol
The Kidnaped Memorial
Young Man Axelbrod
Widely considered Sinclair Lewis's greatest novel, this satire of the American social landscape created a sensation upon its 1922 publication. Babbitt's name became an instant and enduring synonym for middle-class complacency, and the strictures of his existence revealed the emptiness of the mainstream vision of success. His story reflects the nature of a conformist society, in which the pressures of maintaining propriety can ultimately cause individuals to lose their place in the world.
Babbitt ranks among the important 20th-century works addressing the struggles of people caught in the machinery of modern life, and it remains ever-relevant as a cautionary tale against clinging to conventional values.
The word "Babbitt" entered the English language as a "person and especially a business or professional man who conforms unthinkingly to prevailing middle-class standards".