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Lewis and Mencken

Compare and contrast:

"Elmer had, even in Zenith, to meet plenty of solemn and whiskery persons whose only pleasure aside from not doing agreeable things was keeping others from doing them."
- Sinclair Lewis, Elmer Gantry

"Puritanism is the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."
- H.L. Mencken, A Book of Prefaces

Lewis dedicated Elmer Gantry to Mencken, "with profound admiration." Clearly the two were kindred spirits. 

January 29, 2011 in Books | Permalink


I preferred Babbitt to Elmer Gantry. Still, both are worthy reads.

Posted by: Paul at Jan 30, 2011 4:11:17 AM

Oh, yes, Babbitt is much better. The Gantry character isn't nearly as well developed - in fact, at times he seems like an echoing of Babbitt. And the Gantry book is much more long-winded and polemical.

Posted by: Pete at Jan 31, 2011 8:50:37 AM