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Elmer Gantry

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Overview

Today universally recognized as a landmark in American literature, Elmer Gantry scandalized readers when it was first published, causing Sinclair Lewis to be "invited" to a jail cell in New Hampshire and to his own lynching in Virginia. His portrait of a golden-tongued evangelist who rises to power within his church - a saver of souls who lives a life of hypocrisy, sensuality, and ruthless self-indulgence - is also the record of a period, a reign of grotesque vulgarity, which but for Lewis would have left no ...
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Overview

Today universally recognized as a landmark in American literature, Elmer Gantry scandalized readers when it was first published, causing Sinclair Lewis to be "invited" to a jail cell in New Hampshire and to his own lynching in Virginia. His portrait of a golden-tongued evangelist who rises to power within his church - a saver of souls who lives a life of hypocrisy, sensuality, and ruthless self-indulgence - is also the record of a period, a reign of grotesque vulgarity, which but for Lewis would have left no record of itself. Elmber Gantry has been called the greatest, most vital, and most penetrating study of hyposcriy that has been written since Voltaire.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451530752
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/4/2007
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 417,383
  • Product dimensions: 4.08 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Sinclair Lewis was born in 1885 in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, and graduated from Yale University in 1908. His college career was interrupted by various part-time occupations, including a period working at the Helicon Home Colony, Upton Sinclair’s socialist experiment in New Jersey. He worked for some years as a free lance editor and journalist, during which time he published several minor novels. But with the publication of Main Street (1920), which sold half a million copies, he achieved wide recognition. This was followed by the two novels considered by many to be his finest, Babbitt (1922) and Arrowsmith (1925), which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1926, but declined by Lewis. In 1930, following Elmer Gantry (1927) and Dodsworth (1929), Sinclair Lewis became the first American author to be awarded the Nobel Prize for distinction in world literature. This was the apogee of his literary career, and in the period from Ann Vickers (1933) to the posthumously published World So Wide (1951) Lewis wrote ten novels that reveal the progressive decline of his creative powers. From Main Street to Stockholm, a collection of his letters, was published in 1952, and The Man from Main Street, a collection of essays, in 1953. During his last years Sinclair Lewis wandered extensively in Europe, and after his death in Rome in 1951 his ashes were returned to his birthplace.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 1, 2009

    If you harbour antimosity toward Christianity you will enjoy Elmer Gantry.

    Sinclair Lewis uses the character of Elmer Gantry to vent his apparent deep-seated resentment against revivalist Christianity. While the constant attacks on Christianity have to be keep in the context of the period when the book was written, it is important to realize that even men of the cloth have their knaves and charletans. It is a classic book and a good read. Just don't get caught up in Lewis' politics of the time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2007

    Worth Reading

    A gritty look at where religion has been and how it has changed, or not. Very interesting history of the evangelical movement in this country. Ends a little flat, but really worth reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2007

    A reviewer

    Elmer Gantry is about a college football player that is respected only because he is a four year starter, and he is a bully. Elmer Gantry is an alcoholic and isn¿t really happy with his life, He has only one real friend that leads him to religion, which Elmer gantry ends up preaching, very well. He brings multiple communities together and is brought to Rome because he is so good, then there is a plot against him that he has cheated on his wife and some money has been disappearing. Elmer doesn¿t want to lose his job so he preaches to the crowd and since he has a gift with words, they believe he didn¿t do it. This story is ok but gets very old about halfway through the book, because all he does is preach and everyone that hears him is completely mesmerized by his words. Then the fact that he goes from alcoholic, to preacher and is the best there is at it is very hard to comprehend. Also the book ends abruptly, not giving much information on what happened to him after the whole plot. I am a person who likes action in a book or the book reveals a new concept, but this book is kind of boring and religion isn¿t new. On the flip side I liked the beginning where he was feared more than respected, which is true with some football players, and he got class president because of his athleticism. Overall this book is good for the first couple of chapters but the middle and end drag it down to a three star.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2005

    Boring

    I had a hard time getting through this book. A lot of sermons and philosophy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2004

    Great form, but poorly researched.

    In reading 'Elmer Gantry', I was immediately interested due to the fact that I am quite the religious person myself. I was thrilled with the way Lewis described characters and situations in a way that I have never read before. He is truly a brilliant linguist and writer. However, his topic of choice was poorly researched. While it is true that there are those evangelists and pastors who have fallen in ministry, the basis of the evangelical Christian church is not how Lewis describes it. There were, and still are, standards at which the church is run. The Baptist ministry, or any other ministry, would not have survived today if they had such a flimsy government (i.e. simply allowing athiests to be professors, students to drink and smoke, pastors to have no accountability while on assignment) or standards. While I found his ideas interesting, they are simply false. A strong foundation builds a lasting institution, and the Baptists, Methodists, or any other evangelical institution is thriving and does not look to be extinct any time soon.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2003

    It good in its honesty....

    The lack of any real central plot can be hard at times and sometimes you wanna get people moving by giving them a good kick in the as*. The book is good though, the characters are well developed, and you really feel sympathy for them. Elmer Gantry starts out as anybody else could have in a small southern town.His motives for power are not far feached from excuses we tell ourselves everyday. Yet slowly he is corrupted by his own power and its interesting to watch the wake of misery he leaves for those hes supposed to help. I wish there was a final ending but I guess it adds to the style of the book. Theres no guns or mass murders but theres a lot of evil backstabbing, hypocrisy, adultery, and you really learn a lot about the universal nature of mans corruptness. All set against the backdrop of preachers rise to power. If its your thing then by all means enjoy this book, if not enjoy it anyways. some will hate it, some will love it, you got to decide for yourself.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2000

    A Classic....without the pizzazz

    I was asked to read Elmer Gantry in a high school english class. The topic seemed interesting enough; man does good things for bad reasons. Interesting? No. Though I understood the book's message and the point it tried to show, I thought the prose was bland and unspectacular. However, I feel that was almost purposeful. Elmer(the main character) spoke so powerfully to his audience, maybe Lewis was simply showing that in stark contrast to the bore of everyday Christian life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2009

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    Posted December 20, 2009

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    Posted July 18, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2009

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    Posted May 30, 2011

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews

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