The one organ indispensable to a social novelist — much more so than, for example, a brain — is the Cold Eye: the ability to see one's characters in all their folly and self-absorption, from a detached point of view — and yet with cynicism kept always at bay by some tenderness and a little envy. In that respect, at least, Sinclair Lewis was a great social novelist, which is of course a much higher thing than a mere satirist. The Cold Eye is everywhere in his books: he could not be sentimental if he wanted to — which, of course, he didn't.
Saturday, June 18, 2022
… The Kindly Race of Men: A Consideration of Sinclair Lewis. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)