Thursday, 19 January 2012

Lewis on chains

Theatrical release poster.

He was chained by every friend who had made life agreeable – bound not to shock or lose them. He was chained by every dollar he had made, every automobile he had manufactured – they meant a duty to his caste. He was chained by every hour he had worked – they left him stiff, spiritually rheumatic.
Sinclair Lewis – Dodsworth

Sinclair Lewis' 1929 novel was turned into a play in 1934 and a 1936. My quote is from the novel and it sums up the theme of the book quite succinctly. Sam Dodsworth is an automobile manufacturer going through a late mid-life crisis as he realises how much his material success has simply loaded him with obligations, the main one being his shallow wife.

Eventually Dodsworth finds fulfillment by leaving behind both wife and business obligations. No real surprises I suppose, but I like Sinclair Lewis and this is a novel I'll probably read again some day.

In 1930 Lewis won the Nobel Prize for literature. He died in Rome on January 10, 1951, aged 65, from advanced alcoholism.

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