Summer 1940 • Vol. II No. 3 Book Reviews |

Mr. Lewis Goes Soft

Bethel Merriday, by Sinclair Lewis. Doubleday, Doran. $2.50   In the unhappy story of Sinclair Lewis’s later career, Bethel Merriday is another and a redundant episode. To call it a failure would be to imply that it is at least an effort, and it is not that. Like all of Mr. Lewis’s books since Dodsworth—which was an effort and a failure—it is not so much a work of creation as an act of faith in the "romance of” something. Just as Mr. Lewis stood witness for idealistic hotel-keeping in Work of Art, for reform and independent womanhood in Ann Vickers, for democracy in It Can't Happen Here, for the virtues of middle age in The Prodigal Parents, so now, in this latest product of his left hand, he testifies for the charms of the stage and of stage-struck youth. Like all the novels of the last fourteen years, Bethel Merriday is an indulgence of Mr. Lewis’s dream life. The man who made his mark as a realist has put his talents wholly in the command of the spirit of Tom

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Lionel Trilling (1905-1975) was an American literary critic, author, and University Professor at Columbia University. Among the most influential of his many works are two collections of essays, The Liberal Imagination and The Opposing Self; a critical study of E. M. Forster; and one novel, The Middle of the Journey.

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