Sheridan asked:

How could such an awful book win the Noble Prize?

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Jamie Flower It didn't. Nobel Prizes for literatures are awarded to authors, not books. Maybe you are thinking of the Pulitzer Prize.
Smokin Joe I didn't find it awful at all. In fact, it´s among the best books I´ve ever read, right up there with `The Great Gatsby´, `Catcher in the rye´, and `To kill a mockingbird´. I agree it can be a little slow at times, but who´s in a hurry?
Heidi This book was one of the best books I've ever read. And I don't love all Sinclair Lewis books. Arrowsmith was awarded the 1926 Pulitzer Prize, but Lewis declined the award. In a letter to the committee, he wrote:

"I wish to acknowledge your choice of my novel Arrowsmith for the Pulitzer Prize. That prize I must refuse, and my refusal would be meaningless unless I explained the reasons.
All prizes, like all titles, are dangerous. The seekers for prizes tend to labor not for inherent excellence but for alien rewards; they tend to write this, or timorously to avoid writing that, in order to tickle the prejudices of a haphazard committee. And the Pulitzer Prize for Novels is peculiarly objectionable because the terms of it have been constantly and grievously misrepresented.

Those terms are that the prize shall be given "for the American novel published during the year which shall best present the wholesome atmosphere of American life, and the highest standard of American manners and manhood." This phrase, if it means anything whatsoever, would appear to mean that the appraisal of the novels shall be made not according to their actual literary merit but in obedience to whatever code of Good Form may chance to be popular at the moment."
Hari Brandl Apparently, the people on the Nobel Prize committee did not feel this is an awful book, which is to say: taste in literature, as in everything, is an individual matter.
Sketchbook Sheridan, inactive on GR for a few years: Lewis won the Nobel Prize in 1930...not for any book, however. Capiche?
Virtue Members of the Nobel Price committee recognized enormous value of the work of Sinclair Lewis for humankind. These people were highly distinguished scholars and writers who could see what is unique and innovative in his writing, and what represents essentially an immortal contribution to the cultural heritage of the world. They were not your usual reader type seeking fun, thrill, suspense, trivial take-home messages, or other cheap entertainment, and they were sofisticated enough to appreciate books whose understanding may be too challenging for average readers of the present days. Indeed, Lewis did not receive the Nobel Price for any single book, but he is known to have mentioned many times, that he considered "Arrowsmith" to be his best book. Also, it is the Nobel Price, not "Noble price", even though many "Nobelpricers" have been knighted at some point and became a part of nobility.
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