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"...so rooted and so sacred that to challenge them will be to commit blasphemy..."

The Letters of Note blog recently posted Sinclair Lewis' terrific 1926 letter to the Pulitzer Prize Committee, in which he declined the fiction award for Arrowsmith.
If already the Pulitzer Prize is so important, it is not absurd to suggest that in another generation it may, with the actual terms of the award ignored, become the one thing for which any ambitious novelist will strive; and the administrators of the prize may become a supreme court, a college of cardinals, so rooted and so sacred that to challenge them will be to commit blasphemy...Only by regularly refusing the Pulitzer Prize can novelists keep such a power from being permanently set up over them.
Reading this has prompted me to make my next book the story collection Go East, Young Man: Sinclair Lewis on Class in America. I've never read any of his short fiction, and it's been over twenty years since I've read anything of his for the first time (I was an avid fan back in college), so I'm looking forward to this one.

October 3, 2012 in Books | Permalink

Comments

I've read Main Street -- twenty years ago? -- so let me know what you think of his collection. Maybe it's time I picked him up again.

Posted by: Paul Lamb at Oct 3, 2012 6:44:32 PM

Main Street is very good, but Babbitt is my favorite of his - I've read it three times.

Posted by: Pete at Oct 4, 2012 7:36:51 AM

That's right. I did read Babbitt. Was Elmer Gantry his too.

Posted by: Paul Lamb at Oct 4, 2012 6:31:45 PM

Yes, Gantry too. Though I thought the film (with Burt Lancaster) was better than the book.

Posted by: Pete at Oct 5, 2012 7:20:32 AM