Sinclair Lewis, the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, applied subversive satire and razor wit in his portrayals of American life. Born and raised in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, he was one of the earliest writers to attack the myth of the noble, happy, American small town. Main Street, which he described as his “first novel to rouse the embattled peasantry,” was praised and reviled--and immensely popular. This initial success was followed by such accomplished books as Babbitt, Arrowsmith, Elmer Gantry, and Dodsworth, classics that today hold a prominent place in the American canon.
Among the best of Lewis’s works were short stories that he wrote for the popular magazines of the day. The Minnesota Stories of Sinclair Lewis collects the finest of these stories, acerbic tales set in Minnesota that reflect his favorite themes: local boosterism, the plight of strong women, native fascism, the grip of materialism. Lewis inserts himself as a character in two tales: he travels to Main Street’s Gopher Prairie, where he talks to Dr. Will Kennicott, and to Babbitt’s Zenith, where George Babbitt gives him a piece of his mind. Two of these stories have never been published, and six have not been reprinted since they first appeared.