SINCLAIR LEWIS QUOTES

American author (1885-1951)

Sinclair Lewis quote

He was an actor of genius. There was no more overwhelming actor on the stage, in the motion pictures, nor even in the pulpit. He would whirl arms, bang tables, glare from mad eyes, vomit Biblical wrath from a gaping mouth; but he would also coo like a nursing mother, beseech like an aching lover, and in between tricks would coldly and almost contemptuously jab his crowds with figures and facts -- figures and facts that were inescapable even when, as often happened, they were entirely incorrect.

SINCLAIR LEWIS, It Can't Happen Here

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Tags: acting


You're so earnest about morality that I hate to think how essentially immoral you must be underneath.

SINCLAIR LEWIS, Babbitt

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Tags: morality


I, who have heaved a good many bricks myself, would be fatuous not to expect a fair number in return.

SINCLAIR LEWIS, Nobel Lecture, December 12, 1930

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We'd get sick on too many cookies, but ever so much sicker on no cookies at all.

SINCLAIR LEWIS, Main Street

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I am convinced that everything that is worth while in the world has been accomplished by the free, inquiring, critical spirit, and that the preservation of this spirit is more important than any social system whatsoever. But the men of ritual and the men of barbarism are capable of shutting up the men of science and silencing them forever.

SINCLAIR LEWIS, It Can't Happen Here

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The world and all its wisdom is but a booby, blundering school-boy that needs management and could be managed, if men and women would be human beings instead of just business men, or plumbers, or army officers, or commuters, or educators, or authors, or clubwomen, or traveling salesmen, or Socialists, or Republicans, or Salvation Army leaders, or wearers of cloths.

SINCLAIR LEWIS, The Job

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Tags: wisdom


Every man is a king so long as he has someone to look down on.

SINCLAIR LEWIS, It Can't Happen Here

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Tags: kings


American Democracy did not imply any equality of wealth, but did demand a wholesome sameness of thought, dress, painting, morals, and vocabulary.

SINCLAIR LEWIS, Babbitt

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Tags: democracy


They were staggered to learn that a real tangible person, living in Minnesota, and married to their own flesh-and-blood relation, could apparently believe that divorce may not always be immoral; that illegitimate children do not bear any special and guaranteed form of curse; that there are ethical authorities outside of the Hebrew Bible; that men have drunk wine yet not died in the gutter; that the capitalistic system of distribution and the Baptist wedding-ceremony were not known in the Garden of Eden; that mushrooms are as edible as corn-beef hash; that the word "dude" is no longer frequently used; that there are Ministers of the Gospel who accept evolution; that some persons of apparent intelligence and business ability do not always vote the Republican ticket straight; that it is not a universal custom to wear scratchy flannels next the skin in winter; that a violin is not inherently more immoral than a chapel organ; that some poets do not have long hair; and that Jews are not always peddlers or pants-makers.

SINCLAIR LEWIS, Main Street

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Every compulsion is put upon writers to become safe, polite, obedient, and sterile. In protest, I declined election to the National Institute of Arts and Letters some years ago, and now I must decline the Pulitzer Prize.

SINCLAIR LEWIS, letter declining the 1926 Pulitzer Prize for Arrowsmith

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One time I said that you were my soul. And that still goes. You're all the things that I see in a sunset when I'm driving in from the country, the things that I like but can't make poetry of.

SINCLAIR LEWIS, Main Street

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Under a tyranny, most friends are a liability. One quarter of them turn "reasonable" and become your enemies, one quarter are afraid to speak, and one quarter are killed and you die with them. But the blessed final quarter keep you alive.

SINCLAIR LEWIS, It Can't Happen Here

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Tags: tyranny


He still had a fragment of his boyhood belief that congressmen were persons of intelligence and importance.

SINCLAIR LEWIS, Arrowsmith

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Tags: Congress


Love is the one thing that can really sure-enough lighten all of life's dark clouds.

SINCLAIR LEWIS, Elmer Gantry

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Tags: love


Fortune has dealt with me rather too well. I have known little struggle, not much poverty, many generosities. Now and then I have, for my books or myself, been somewhat warmly denounced -- there was one good pastor in California who upon reading my Elmer Gantry desired to lead a mob and lynch me, while another holy man in the state of Maine wondered if there was no respectable and righteous way of putting me in jail.

SINCLAIR LEWIS, Nobel Lecture, December 12, 1930

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He was born to be a senator. He never said anything important, and he always said it sonorously.

SINCLAIR LEWIS, Elmer Gantry

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Life is hard and astonishingly complicated.... No one great reform will make it easy. Most of us who work -- or want to work -- will always have trouble or discontent. So we must learn to be calm, and train all our faculties, and make others happy.

SINCLAIR LEWIS, The Job

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There are two insults which no human being will endure: The assertion that he hasn't a sense of humor, and the doubly impertinent assertion that he has never known trouble.

SINCLAIR LEWIS, Main Street

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She was not a Respectable Married Woman but fully a human being.

SINCLAIR LEWIS, Main Street

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The one thing that can be more disconcerting than intelligent hatred is demanding love.

SINCLAIR LEWIS, Main Street

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