Slovene critics on Sinclair Lewis's novels
Keywords:American literature, American novel, literary criticism
AbstractThe purpose of this article is to present the reception of Sinclair Lewis's novels by Slovene critics. Initially, the article focuses on the life and workof Sinclair Lewis, giving special emphasis to social influences that made the author a representative figure in the literary and social world. Thus his works are nowadays to be understood primarily as fiction, but on the other hand also as sociological documents of a social and political situation of the period between the two world wars. Generally, the effect they produce is one of a critical discussion of the nation of the United States. When speaking of the social relevance that Lewis's novels have, it is obvious that his works are the portrayals of Americans and their deficiencies. At the time of their publication Lewis's novels received unfavourable criticism on accountof his overly open pro-European attitude and Slovene critics of the period before World War II emphasise this in much detail. It was precisely this anti-American propaganda in the novels themselves and sincerity on the part of the novelist that won the European critics as well as the readers whenit came to appreciating his works. However, Lewis's view of the Americans, as presented throughout his works, only enhanced his literary credibility as a modern writer. That is why the articles by Slovene critics that appeared after the Second World War, and even more significantly after Lewis's death, almost minutely reflect a more favourable attitude to Sinclair Lewis, which was also the case with foreign literary criticism of the post-war period. Critics still discuss the qualities and flaws of Lewis's novels, but being more lenient they no longer profess that the novels lack in artistic value. They remain, however, primarily relevant as social documents of the pre- and post-war era, which fully presented the American middle-class mentality in America and elsewhere. For this reason, the Nobel Prize for Literature awarded to Sinclair Lewis in 1930 seems duly justified. It signifies appreciation and respect that the American and European readers as well as critics used to have and still have for Sinclair Lewis. Therefore, it is no surprise that his novels are being translated in several foreign languages even in modern times.
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How to Cite
Avsenak, V. (2010). Slovene critics on Sinclair Lewis’s novels. Acta Neophilologica, 43(1-2), 49–58. https://doi.org/10.4312/an.43.1-2.49-58
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