October 23, 1930

Sinclair Lewis publishes Main Street which earns the Nobel Prize

American novelist, playwright, and social critic who gained popularity with satirical novels. Sinclair Lewis won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1930, the first given to American. His total output includes 22 novels and three plays.

Main Street, published late in 1920, was my first novel to rouse the embattled peasantry and, as I have already hinted, it had really a success of scandal. One of the most treasured American myths had been that all American villages were peculiarly noble and happy, and here an American attacked that myth.

Harry Sinclair Lewis was born in Sauk Centre, a prairie village in the heart of Minnesota, as the third son of a country doctor. His mother, who was the daughter of a Canadian physician, died of tuberculosis when Lewis was six years old. His father remarried a year later, Isabel Warner. Lewis considered her psychically his own mother. Later Lewis characterized Sauk Center “narrow-minded and socially provincial” and books offered him one way of escape: he had access to the three or four hundred volumes, exclusive of medical books, in his father’s library.

Thanks to Mr. Gunderson’s 6th grade class at Virginia-Roosevelt Elementary School for the research on October’s Day in History.

Thanks also to Minnesota’s Learn and Serve America Service Learning Program for their help.

Explore posts in the same categories: Day in History

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