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Lewis, Sinclair (Harry) (1885–1951) By Welch, Bronwen

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM1481-1
Published: 02/05/2017
Retrieved: 01 June 2023, from


Sinclair Lewis was an American novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. Born in the small town of Sauk Centre, in Minnesota, Lewis was the youngest of three boys; the eldest, Fred, was born in 1875, followed by Claude in 1878. Lewis was a sensitive and bookish boy, un-athletic and vulnerable. His, father Edwin J. Lewis, a doctor and a strict, domineering father, had a hard time understanding his youngest son, and sadly Lewis's mother, Emma Kermott Lewis, died when he was six years old; her death had a lasting impact of Lewis’ life and writing. In 1892, Edwin J. Lewis remarried Isabel Warner, a kind and deeply maternal woman who became a friend and confidant to the lonely Lewis.

Lewis’ works are known for their satirical representation of the pettiness of American life and values, revolving around such icons of Americanism as religion, patriotism, small-town life, and commercial capitalism. The narrowness of this lens, however, must be located within the broader realm of turmoil against a world order which Lewis felt was all about commerce: a buying and selling that produced only greed and dissatisfaction.

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Citing this article:

Welch, Bronwen. "Lewis, Sinclair (Harry) (1885–1951)." The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. : Taylor and Francis, 2016. Date Accessed 1 Jun. 2023 doi:10.4324/9781135000356-REM1481-1

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