Master's Theses

Date of Award

Spring 1956

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

English

Advisor

Dr. Ralph V. Coder

Abstract

Sinclair Lewis , a novelist of not e, especially in the 11 Roaring Twenties, 11 was a controversial writer in a period of American history -when the nation was to pass through such crises as the depression of the thirties and World War II . Lewis considered the typical American a smug individual who was indifferent to the problems -which surrounded him. As far as Lewis was concerned, these indifferent Americans were characterized by an interest in bootleg whiskey, speakeasies, and stock market speculation. The reading of Babbitt was the first step to a desire for further knowledge of his creator. Main Street compelled the writer to study that person -who could so skillfully tongue-lash staid American institutions . Since Lewis I s subjects touched so many American sore spots, critics found fertile soil for criticism. That criticism put forth by leading critics is of prime interest in this study. The writer sought answers to many questions. Why did Lewis write five great novels in the twenties and then fail to get a favorable reaction from the readers of the thirties and forties? Did he merely “run out,” or did social conditions in the United States change so t hat his work was no longer timely? Was he a realist or a romanticist? Were his characters true to life or merely caricatures? What was the quality of Lewis's satire? The writer also desired to determine Sinclair Lewis ' s status in the minds of his contemporaries and his place in the literary world.

Rights

Copyright 1956 Mary Lou Blakely

Comments

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