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Elmer Gantry

Elmer Gantry

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Author(s)/Editor(s): Lewis, Sinclair - -

YearMonthDay of Publication: 20230102
Standardized Book Category: Humorous - General
Language: EnglishPage Count: 00346

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First published in English in 1927, "Elmer Gantry" is Sinclair Lewis' novel which satirizes the Christian fundamentalist and evangelistic movements of the early part of the 20th century. From the 17th century onward there have been a number of efforts to reassert the influence of Christianity on social, cultural, and political life. In America, Christian Revivalism, as it is often referred to, has come in four waves, or "Great Awakenings" starting with the movement of Jonathan Edwards in the 1730s and 1740s and continuing through to the present day. With these attempts to revive the spirit of Christianity in American life have often come charlatans who seek to profit through evangelism. "Elmer Gantry" is a story of just such a charlatan. At the outset of the novel, we find a young, alcoholic, womanizing college student who abandons his ambition for a legal career to pursue a place in the ministry. After some initial failures, Gantry eventually rises to a prominent position in the Methodist church. Lewis's novel brilliantly juxtaposes the hypocritically moralizing sermons of Gantry with the character's actions, which cause the ruin of many around him. A commercial success that was viewed scornfully by the community it satirized, "Elmer Gantry" remains a captivating portrait of early 20th century America. This edition is printed on premium acid-free paper.

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