Sinclair Lewis was born in 1885 in Minnesota right before the turn of
the century. As a bright young boy, he attended Yale University after
his earlier education. Afterwards he worked as an editor and reporter,
neither job giving him very much satisfaction. One of his major
topics in all his works was the monotony and lack of spiritual values
in every day American life. Among his works are Babbit, Arrowsmith,
Elmer Gantry, Dodswoth, It can't Happen Here, Kingsblood Royal, and
Main Street. As most authors of that time, he was part of the lost
generation, and moved to Europe. In 1930, he was the first American
that received the Noble prize in literature for his work in the past
decade. In 1951, Lewis dies in Rome. Later, his letters would be
published in From Main Street to Stockholm.
The two most important books by Sinclair were Main Street and Babbit. Babbit was about an ordinary businessmen who becomes tired of his conformity and becomes more liberal. He takes on a mistress and begins to "hang" with the drinking crowd, despite prohibition laws. However, he returns to normalcy when his wife becomes ill. This showed that it was easy to get mixed up in the "uncouth" movement during the twenties. Main Street was about a small town dealing with the new aggressive capitalism during the twenties. This book showed the evil of materialism as a small town forgets old values. Sinclair did not approve of the new liberalism, and was a backlash to the new society created during the twenties.
Baughman, Judith S. American Decades: 1920 - 1929.