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Priggish and of Dubious Virtue


Sinclair Lewis, 1885-1951., Digital ID 1559593, New York Public LibrarySinclair Lewis, like many writers who lived in the Village, came from elsewhere — from Sauk Centre, Minnesota, in fact, whose citizens did not care at all for how they were depicted in his phenomenally popular novel Main Street.

Lewis lived for a time at 37 West 10th Street in New York City.

From Main Street (1920):

Except for a half a dozen in each town the citizens are proud of that achievement of ignorance which is so easy to come by. To be "intellectual" or "artistic" or, in their own word, to be "highbrow," is to be priggish and of dubious virtue.

From Babbitt (1922):

I hate your city. It has standardized all the beauty out of life. It is one big railroad station — with all the people taking tickets for the best cemeteries.

And from Arrowsmith (1925):

I must say I'm not very fond of oratory that's so full of energy it hasn't any room for facts.


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