Harry Sinclair Lewis was born on February 7, 1885 in Minnesota. He was an American novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. In 1930, he became the first writer from the United States to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. A lonely child, Lewis immersed himself in reading and diary writing. While studying at Yale University and living in writer Upton Sinclair's communal house, he wrote for Yale Literary Magazine and helped to build the Panama Canal. After graduating from Yale in 1908, Lewis began writing fiction, publishing 22 novels by the end of his career. His early works, while often praised by literary critics, did not reach popularity but with Main Street (1920), Babbitt (1922), Arrowsmith (1925), Elmer Gantry (1927), and Dodsworth (1929), Sinclair Lewis achieved fame as a writer. His style of choice was satire; he explored American small-town life, conformity, hypocrisy, and materialism. Sinclair Lewis was married and divorced twice. As his career wound down, he spent his later life in Europe and died in Rome on January 10, 1951.
When Christopher Isherwood's A Single Man first appeared, it shocked many with its frank, sympathetic, and moving portrayal of a gay man in maturity. Isherwood's favorite of his own novels, it now stands as a classic lyric meditation on life as an outsider.